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Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are each caused by a bacteria.
DTaP vaccine is made from dead (inactivated) bacteria that cause the three diseases. The vaccine will not make a child sick from the three diseases it is protecting against.
After getting the vaccine, the body learns to attack any of the three bacteria if the child is exposed to them. As a result, the child is unlikely to get sick with any of the three diseases.
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
DTaP is one of the recommended childhood immunizations. Many states require proof that a child has received the vaccine before starting day care or preschool.
Children should get 5 doses (shots) of the vaccine. One dose should be received at each of the following ages:
DTaP can be received as a shot by itself. Or it can be received as a shot that combines it with other vaccines:
The health care provider can tell you which vaccine is right for your child.
DTaP is not given to children 7 years or older. Two vaccines are available for children 7 years through adulthood. These vaccines are Tdap and Td. Because immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis wears off, Tdap and Td are used as booster vaccines. The health care provider can tell you more about these vaccines.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS VACCINE
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
There is no proof that DTaP vaccine is linked to the development of autism.
No vaccine works all of the time. It is still possible, though unlikely, to get any of the three infections even after receiving all doses (shots) of DTaP.
CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. General recommendations on immunization: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR2011;60 (No. RR-2):1-64.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine safety and adverse events. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/safety/default.htm. Accessed April 19, 2013.
DeStefano F, Price CS, Weintraub ES. Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism. J Pediatr. 2013;DOI 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.02.001.
Institute of Medicine. Immunization Safety Review Committee. Immunization safety review: vaccines and autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.
Orenstein WA, Atkinson WL. Immunization. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 17.