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DTaP and Tdap Vaccines

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Are there any children who should not get DTaP vaccine?

The CDC recommends that children who are moderately or severely ill at the time they are scheduled to receive the vaccine should wait until they recover before getting it. Minor illnesses like a cold or low-grade fever, however, should not prevent a child from receiving a dose of the vaccine.

If a child has a life-threatening allergic reaction after receiving a dose of the vaccine, that child should not be given another dose.

A child who suffered a brain or nervous system disease within seven days of receiving the vaccine should not be given another dose.

Some children may have a bad reaction to the pertussis vaccine in DTaP and should not take another dose. There is, however, a vaccine called DT that will protect them from diphtheria and tetanus. Talk with your doctor if your child experienced any of the following reactions:

  • Had a seizure or collapsed after a dose of DTaP
  • Cried nonstop for 3 hours or more after a dose of DTaP
  • Had a fever over 105 F after a dose of DTaP

 

Are There Dangers Associated With DTaP and Tdap?

Like any medicine, vaccines can have side effects. But the risk of experiencing a serious problem to DTaP or Tdap is extremely small. On the other hand, the risk of your child contracting a major illness like diphtheria or pertussis is extremely high without the vaccine.

One of the most serious problems that can come from getting the vaccine is an allergic reaction. That happens in less than one out of a million doses. If it were going to happen it would most likely happen within a few minutes to a couple of hours after taking the vaccine. And even though it's rare, it's important to be alert for an allergic reaction with any medicine and get medical help at once if it occurs. Symptoms might include any of the following:

  • difficulty breathing
  • hoarseness
  • wheezing
  • hives
  • paleness
  • weakness
  • rapid heart beat
  • dizziness

Other very rare problems that have been reported include long-term seizures, coma or lowered consciousness, and brain damage. These problems have occurred so rarely that the CDC says it's impossible to tell whether they were actually related to the vaccine or caused by something else.

There are some mild problems that commonly occur after getting the vaccine. They include:

  • fever
  • redness or swelling at the site of the shot
  • soreness or tenderness at the site of the shot
  • fussiness
  • tiredness
  • vomiting

These problems could occur within one to three days after the shot and generally pass quickly. If your child has ever had seizures from any cause, it's important to control fever. Using an aspirin-free pain reliever in the 24 hours after the shot is given can help control fever and relieve pain. Do not give aspirin to a child under the age of 18 for fever. Aspirin can cause a very serious life-threatening illness called Reye's syndrome, which can cause brain and liver damage.

Keeping immunizations up to date can protect not only you and your children but also the community in which you live from a serious illness.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on May 06, 2012

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