Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a dangerous nerve ailment caused by the toxin of a common bacterium often found in soil. This bacterium can also exist in environments as diverse as animal excrement, house dust, and operating rooms. It enters the body through cuts, scratches or wounds.
Diphtheria is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing. It is a respiratory disease that typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. It can also cause paralysis, heart failure, and death.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious illness spread by contact with droplets coughed out by someone with the disease, or by contact with recently contaminated hard surfaces upon which the droplets have landed. Early symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. After this stage, the most common symptom is intense bouts of coughing in which the gasping person makes a "whoop" sound when inhaling between coughs.
The Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).
Td (Tetanus Booster) vaccine can protect against tetanus and diphtheria, and has been used for many years as booster doses for adolescents and adults. A related vaccine is DTaP (not available at Walgreens), which is routinely administered as five doses spread between infancy and children 4 - 6 years of age, to protect against the same three diseases.
Adolescents 11 - 18 years of age should get one booster dose of Tdap.
All adults aged 19 and older should get a booster dose of Td every 10 years. Tdap should be substituted for Td (Tetanus Booster) for the next dose among people with the following characteristics:
Pregnant women should get Tdap during the 27th to 36th week of each pregnancy. New mothers who have never gotten Tdap should get a dose as soon as possible after delivery.
Anyone who gets a severe cut or burn might need a dose of Td or Tdap to prevent tetanus infection. Tdap may be used for people who have never had a dose. But Td should be used if Tdap is not available, or for:
Severe problems (rare):
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain and reduce fever.
Walgreens administers Tdap and Td vaccines, but does not administer DTaP. See your healthcare provider for the DTaP vaccine.
The Tdap and Td vaccines are available at:
Healthcare Clinic — Tdap for patients aged 10+ / Td for patients aged 7+
Walgreens Pharmacy. Ages vary by state.
Walk in or schedule an appointment at the location nearest you.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.
Call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 800-232-4636 or visit the CDC website, at cdc.gov/vaccines, for more vaccine information.
Atkinson W, Hamborsky J, McIntyre L, Wolfe S, eds. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 10th ed. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation, 2007.
Vaccine Information Statement: Td or Tdap (Tetanus-Diphtheria or Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis) Vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). January 24, 2012. www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-td-tdap.pdf. Accessed February 2013.
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Vaccine subject to availability. Age, state, and health related restrictions apply.