Tdap, which is short for the Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis immunization, is a combination vaccine.
When administered, the goal is to provide an added layer of protection against serious conditions in patients who have previously received the DTaP shot.
Tdap is available under the U.S. brand names ADACEL and BOOSTRIX.
As mentioned earlier, the Tdap vaccine puts defense mechanisms in place against very serious and potentially fatal conditions, such as:
In addition to causing incessant coughing and difficulty breathing, pertussis may also progress to long-term bronchitis and pneumonia. In severe cases, whooping cough causes damage to brain cells, seizures, and even death. It is spread easily when someone coughs or sneezes. Usually, an unsuspecting patient touches a hard surface contaminated with droplets of the virus.
In the past, diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus were widespread in the United States and other parts of the world. Thanks to routine vaccinations, however, these infections are largely considered as being under control.
Nevertheless, the threat of transmission still exists.
Due to the severe risks associated with these infections, coupled with the high risk of transmission, the American Pediatric Association recommends that all patients over 10 years are avaccinated. The vaccine is also effective in adults who have formerly received the vaccine.
Moreover, most states mandate that children in certain age groups receive the Tdap vaccine in order to enroll in school.
The Tdap vaccine could cause mild to severe side effects, as with most immunizations. In most cases, however, medical specialists agree that the protection it provides against serious and potentially fatal infections far outweighs the risks.
The side effects outlined below provide a brief overview of commonly reported adverse reactions, most of which subside with time:
In rare cases, the Tdap vaccine may cause:
Parents should contact 911 immediately if the following reactions are observed:
There are two forms of the Tdap vaccine available on the U.S. market today. These include:
In all cases, one vial equals one dose for all patients who are prescribed either ADACEL or BOOSTRIX. ADACEL, however, should not be given to patients who are older than 65 years of age as negative side effects have been reported in this demographic.
Additionally, neither BOOSTRIX or ADACEL should be administered to patients younger than 10 years of age.
As with most vaccinations, the Tdap vaccine contains minute strains of the viruses. When it is injected into the patient's bloodstream, the body reacts by producing antibodies against the specific viruses. In most cases of exposure, immunized patients benefit from fully developed antibodies that protect against transmission.
As the DTaP vaccine is generally prescribed in conjunction with the inactivated poliovirus (IPV) when patients are four to six years of age, this follow-up version (Tdap) simply provides a boost in protection.
Medical specialists suggest prescribing the booster Tdap shot for:
The Tdap vaccine is only administered once. Nevertheless, a supplementary Td shot may be prescribed when 10 years have passed since the initial Tdap vaccine was given.
Tdap vaccines are administered exclusively at a certified medical provider's office.
It is usually given by a trained nurse who has first-hand experience providing immunizations. The Tdap vaccine is usually injected into the shoulder muscle.
The patient is generally observed for a few minutes to determine if any negative reactions surface, including allergies or fainting spells.
Parents are provided with take-home instructions on how to treat the injection site and address common side effects, such as pain and spikes in fever. Moreover, parents are generally told when to call a doctor.
One other noteworthy point is that this vaccine may be prescribed in conjunction with others, depending on the patient's immunization schedule. If so, additional vaccines will be administered elsewhere at another intramuscular site.
When administering any vaccine, protective gear should be worn at all times to protect against the risk of transmitting infectious diseases. Additionally, used gloves and syringes should be discarded of in a biohazardous container.
Follow all protocols outlined by the medical facility and the CDC's guidelines for administering vaccinations, especially for children and teens who may be more susceptible to side effects.
Care should be taken before administering the Tdap vaccine with specific drugs or when patients have some underlying medical conditions. Read more about drug interactions below:
The Tdap vaccine should not be used concomitantly with the following vaccines as adverse reactions have been observed:
The Tdap vaccine schedule is sometimes modified in patients who are currently undergoing treatments with medicines that weaken the immune system. These include:
Tell your doctor if you or your child is using these or any other medicines or treatments.
For patients with certain underlying medical conditions, Tdap should be used with caution, as the vaccine could cause complications. A medical provider will weigh the risks and benefits before prescribing this vaccine for patients with the following underlying disorders:
Parents and adult patients who plan on scheduling a Tdap injection should pay attention to the following warnings:
To avoid overdose, adult patients and parents are advised to inform current medical providers of all previous vaccines.
Many vaccines are administered in a serial format for best results.
Currently, there has been a huge shift to move patient medical records to one central online portal. However, not all medical offices or states currently have access to this setup. As a result, it is best to verbally discuss past immunizations with current providers.
Similarly, it is important for patients to discuss any incidences of past allergic reactions, particularly to vaccines, foods, dyes, or animal products. The Tdap vaccine could also cause allergic reactions to occur and proper measures will be taken to decrease the risk or stop the vaccine altogether in high-risk patients.
If you or your child has had past allergic reactions to latex, inform your medical provider before consenting to the vaccine. The syringe used in most vaccinations is built with dry natural latex rubber. Therefore, precautions must be taken by medical teams before use.
In the event of allergies, an alternative syringe may be used.
The Tdap vaccine is not intended for patients who are already diagnosed with pertussis, tetanus, or diphtheria. It is only intended as a preventative booster vaccine. If the patient has been diagnosed with any of these underlying conditions, other medical interventions are prescribed.
The brand name ADACEL is not intended for patients older than 65 years of age.
To store BOOSTRIX or ADACEL, place in a refrigerator at temperatures ranging from 2º and 8ºC (36º and 46ºF). The vials should never be frozen.
Any vials exposed to freezing temperatures should be discarded of as these temperatures could compromise the quality or efficacy of the vaccines.
The Tdap or Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis Booster Vaccine offers increased defense against highly contagious and potentially life-threatening infections. These include:
Between the ages of 4-6 years old, most children receive a similar vaccine which combines an inactivated poliovirus DTaP. The Tdap, however, provides a boost in immunity against these serious diseases in patients 10 years and older.
Tdap is also recommended for adults who have previously received a DTaP vaccine, as well as healthcare workers who are regularly exposed to these infections. Moreover, parents and caregivers who are caring for infants may be advised to take Tdap.
The Tdap vaccine is also mandated for schoolers entering secondary school in most U.S. states.
The Tdap combo boost shot ultimately provides a barrier against the transmission of highly infectious diseases. In medical communities, the general consensus is that the benefits exceed the risks.