Vaccine Information You Need
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Tetanus (DTaP, Tdap, Td)

Tetanus is a serious disease caused by bacteria. The actual disease is caused when the bacteria release a toxin, or poison, into a person's body.
Tetanus gets into the body through cuts or wounds.
Tetanus can cause extremely painful muscle cramps all over the body. This disease can be deadly. In the most common form of tetanus, the first sign is spasm of the jaw muscles, followed by stiffness of the neck, and difficulty in swallowing.
Tetanus bacteria are in the soil, so people who work, garden or play outside can get infected even from a minor injury, such as a puncture from a rose thorn.
Vaccination is the most effective step you can take to be protected from this serious disease.
Tetanus Vaccine Schedule
All children should get 5 doses of DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine, beginning when they are 2 months old. If your child misses a dose or gets behind schedule, make sure they get the next dose as soon as possible. Older children, teens, and adults should receive Tdap vaccine and after that, a Td booster dose every 10 years. Consult your healthcare provider if you have a deep or dirty wound.
Trusted Websites
What you should know about the the disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
>> Fact Sheet for Parents
Information about Tetanus
Information about Tetanus
Includes information about the disease, immunization, and resources for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics
A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines
A Look at Each Vaccine: Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
Questions and answers about the disease and vaccines from the Vaccine Education Center
View all diseases and vaccines
Video Library
Video: Tetanus
Tetanus: Tetanus is a serious and deadly disease caused by bacteria. The bacteria that cause tetanus live in dirt, dust, and soil. Protect yourself from tetanus. Get vaccinated.
>> view all tetanus videos
Personal Testimonies
Stories of suffering and loss from tetanus
Blindsided by Tetanus: Are you psychotic, overdosing, or did you just forget your booster shot?
Tetanus Is Far More Than a "Rusty Nail" Disease
Tetanus Killed Woman After Fall in Garden
>> view all personal testimonies
More Tetanus Information
Tetanus: Make sure your child is protected
Tetanus: Make sure your child is protected (IAC)
Vaccine summary for parents
>> Spanish-language
Tetanus: Questions & Answers
Tetanus Q&As (IAC)
Tetanus disease and vaccine information
Tetanus: Overview for Parents
Overview for Parents (CDC)
Frequently asked questions
>> Spanish-language
Tetanus: What You Should Know
Questions & Answers: Tetanus (VEC)
Tetanus Q&A fact sheet
Tetanus Photos
Some of the images are quite graphic
>> view all tetanus photos
This page was reviewed on October 10, 2019.
This page was updated on October 7, 2019.
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The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), a non-profit organization, works to increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance delivery of safe and effective immunization services. IAC also facilitates communication about the safety, efficacy, and use of vaccines within the broad immunization community of patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies.