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 your tetanus vaccination so you can enjoy being outdoors safely.

Vaccination is the best way to protect against tetanus

The United States sees an average of about 30 reported cases of tetanus each year. Nearly all cases are among people who did not get all the recommended tetanus vaccinations.

These vaccines help protect against tetanus and also provide protection 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.

Tetanus vaccines for DTaP, Tdap, and Td.

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

  • Babies and young children should get five shots of DTaP between the ages of 2 months and 6 years. Children 6 years old and younger who should not get whooping cough vaccines can receive DT for protection against diphtheria and tetanus.
  • Preteens should get one shot of Tdap between the ages of 11 and 12 years.
  • All adults who have never received one should get a shot of Tdap. This can be given at any time, regardless of when they last got Td. This should be followed by either a Td or Tdap shot every 10 years.

Talk to a doctor if you have questions about tetanus vaccines.

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.

More information