Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccine ScheduleLeave a Comment
As a parent, you want to make sure your kids are healthy. If you’re following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination schedule to protect your little ones, you have probably noticed that DTaP is listed five times before the age of 6. If you are unsure about the specifics of this vaccination and the diseases it protects against, you’ve come to the right place. Pediatric Partners is here to help you learn more about the diphtheria tetanus pertussis vaccine schedule.
Here’s a quick quiz to test your knowledge:
What does the DTaP vaccine protect against?
A.) Diphtheria, tetanus, and pneumonia
B.) Dengue fever, tetanus, and polio
C.) Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
Choice “c” is correct. Congratulations if you knew the answer!
Details of the Diseases
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are three bacterial diseases that can be vaccinated against with the DTaP shots. Here’s some information on each:
- Diphtheria is a severe infection of the throat that can block the airway and make it difficult for children to breathe and swallow.
- Tetanus is a serious nerve disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles all over the body. It can also lead to “locking” of the jaw, making a person unable to open their mouth or swallow.
- Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. Serious complications of pertussis can occur in children under one year of age.
Now you are probably wondering how they’re spread. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person, while tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds.
Five doses of DTaP are needed before your child turns 6. According to the CDC, children should get the vaccines at ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 15-18 months
- 4-6 years
After the initial immunizations, a vaccine called Tdap (the booster shot) should be given around age 11-12. Older teens and adults should receive this booster shot every 10 years since protection can fade over time.
Please note that some children should not get DTaP or should wait, so be sure to discuss the vaccination schedule with your doctor.
Why Get Vaccinated?
Thankfully, vaccine-preventable diseases are far less common in the United States than they used to be, but outbreaks still occur. Immunizations are a safe and effective way to help our kids stay healthy in school and prevent them from getting serious illnesses.
In addition, childcare and schools require students to be current on vaccinations before enrolling. You can find Florida’s requirements here and information on other states here.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Getting diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis is much riskier than getting the vaccine. The risk of DTaP vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.” You can learn about the risk factors by following this link: American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you have any questions on DTaP or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatricians, please call Pediatric Partners at 863.940.0918 or complete our online appointment request form.