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What are the dangers of the DTaP and Tdap vaccine?

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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 fewer 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

From: DTaP and Tdap Vaccines WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: , published online Feb. 1, 2011.

Pediatrics

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: "A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccines."

Immunization Action Coalition: "Ask the Expert: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis."

CDC: "Vaccines and Preventable Diseases: Diphtheria Vaccination;" "Diphtheria Tetanus & Pertussis Vaccines: What You Need to Know;" "How Vaccines Prevent Disease;""Common Questions Parents Ask about Infant Immunization;" and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on April 18, 2019

SOURCES: , published online Feb. 1, 2011.

Pediatrics

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: "A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccines."

Immunization Action Coalition: "Ask the Expert: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis."

CDC: "Vaccines and Preventable Diseases: Diphtheria Vaccination;" "Diphtheria Tetanus & Pertussis Vaccines: What You Need to Know;" "How Vaccines Prevent Disease;""Common Questions Parents Ask about Infant Immunization;" and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on April 18, 2019

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What are some other rare problems associated with DTaP and Tdap vaccines?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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