1. Why get DTP vaccine?

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds.

DIPHTHERIA causes a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death.

TETANUS (Lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in up to 2 out of 10 cases.

PERTUSSIS (Whooping Cough) causes coughing spells so bad that it is hard for infants to eat, drink, or breathe. These spells can last for weeks. It can lead to pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring spells), brain damage, and death.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine (DTP) can help prevent these diseases. Most children who are vaccinated with DTaP will be protected throughout childhood. Many more children would get these diseases if we stopped vaccinating. DTaP is a safer version of an older vaccine called DTP.

2. When should children get DTaP vaccine?

Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends 5 doses of DTaP vaccine, one dose at each of the following ages:

  • 6 weeks
  • 10 weeks
  • 14 weeks
  • 15-18 months
  • 5 years

3. What are the risks from DTaP vaccine?

Mild Problems (Common)

  • Fever
  • Redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Soreness or tenderness where the shot was given

These problems occur more often after the 4th and 5th doses of the DTaP series than after earlier doses. Sometimes the 4th or 5th dose of DTaP vaccine is followed by swelling of the entire arm or leg in which the shot was given, lasting 1-7 days

Other mild problems include:

  • Fussiness
  • Tiredness or poor appetite
  • Vomiting

These problems generally occur 1-3 days after the shot.

Moderate Problems (Uncommon)

Seizure (jerking or staring)

  • Non-stop crying, for 3 hours or more
  • High fever, over 105oF

Severe Problems (Very, Very Rarely)

  • Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a 10 lakhs doses)
  • Several other severe problems have been reported after DTaP vaccine. These include:

–          Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness

–          Permanent brain damage.

These are so rare it is hard to tell if they are caused by the vaccine.

4. What should I look for?

Any unusual conditions, such as a serious allergic reaction, high fever or unusual behavior. Serious allergic reactions are extremely rare with any vaccine. If one were to occur, it would most likely be within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. Signs can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness. If a high fever or seizure were to occur, it would usually be within a week after the shot

5. What should I do?

Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away. Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.

“Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and prevention, Indian Academy of pediatrics”