Tetanus Vaccination

A family’s bare feet on grass

Tetanus is an uncommon but very serious disease caused by spores of bacteria found in the environment. Make sure you and your loved ones are up to date with their tetanus vaccine so you can enjoy being outdoors safely.

Several vaccines protect against tetanus, all of which also protect against other diseases:

  • DTaP protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
  • DT protects against diphtheria and tetanus
  • Tdap protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
  • Td protects against tetanus and diphtheria

CDC Recommends Tetanus Vaccines for People of All Ages

The vaccine recommended for someone depends on their age. The graphic below gives information, by age, about CDC’s tetanus vaccine recommendations.

Tetanus vaccines for DTaP, Tdap, and Td.

This graphicCdc-image highlights CDC’s tetanus vaccination recommendations for young children, preteens, and adults.

Children who should not get vaccines that contain whooping cough can receive DT for protection against diphtheria and tetanus. CDC also recommends one dose of Tdap for adults who have never received it. The easiest thing for adults to do is to get Tdap instead of their next regular Td booster. However, people can get the dose of Tdap earlier than the 10-year mark. Talk to a doctor to learn about what’s best for your specific situation.

Tetanus Vaccines Are Safe

Most people who get a tetanus vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. However, side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild, meaning they do not affect daily activities. See the vaccine information statement for each vaccine to learn more about the most common side effects.

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Page last reviewed: February 28, 2019