Tdap is a shot necessary for all adults and children starting at age 11 that protects against infections caused by Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Because of increasing reports of Whooping Cough and increased infant deaths in the last 2 years, we are working hard to protect infants, children, adolescents and adults from Whooping Cough (caused by Pertussis). Most importantly we want to protect our newborn babies from being exposed or contracting whooping cough. Whooping cough is most dangerous and most devastating (occasionally fatal) for newborn babies (under 2 months of age) and infants under the age of 6 months. If you are around a newborn baby it’s essential you’ve had a Tdap shot at least once as an adult. Watch the video for more.
Keep in mind, even fully vaccinated adults can get pertussis. If you are caring for infants or young children, check with your health care provider about what’s best for your situation.
What is Whooping Cough & How is it Treated (Link)?
WHEN TO CALL THE PEDIATRICIAN: Pertussis infection starts out acting like a cold. You should consider the possibility of whooping cough if the following conditions are present:
- The child is a very young infant who has not been fully immunized and/or has had exposure to someone with a chronic cough or the disease.
- The child’s cough becomes more severe and frequent, or her lips and fingertips become dark or blue.
- She becomes exhausted after coughing episodes, eats poorly, vomits after coughing, and/or looks “sick.”
How To Protect Your Family From Whooping Cough
- The best way to prevent Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is to get vaccinated.
- Children 7 to 10 years old who did not have their full DTP/DTaP series (2,4,6, and 15 months shots) need a Tdap shot.
- Children with either an unknown or incomplete shot record/history before age 7 years of age need a Tdap shot.
- All adolescents with an up-to-date record need the Tdap shot at the 11 year old well child check-up/visit.
- Anyone over age 11 who has not previously received Tdap – when indicated.
- There’s no minimum interval between Td and Tdap vaccines. Meaning, if you for some reason had a Td (“tetanus booster”) in the last few years, you still need a Tdap now to protect against whooping cough(Pertussis). No 5-10 year interval is required between the shot.
- Vaccine protection for pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria fades with time, so adults need a booster shot. Experts recommend adults receive a Td booster every 10 years and substitute a Tdap vaccine for one of the boosters.
- Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for adults who are around infants – new parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies, and health care providers.
AAP Policy Statement on Using Tdap to prevent Pertussis
CDC: Protecting your family from whooping cough (Pertussis)
I will never EVER forget the precious 3 week old I took care of that died of pertussis just a few days later despite truly heroic efforts by the large team that took care of her. Docs for grownups need to make more of an effort to push this – neither I nor my husband has been urged to receive TdaP at our annual checkups.
I am a believer in vaccinations. I believe even more in informed vaccinating. Parents should be educated that vaccinations often result in less than 100% immunity. They should be informed that their (or their children’s) cold-like symptoms could be a case of attenuated pertussis. They should be aware that even when up to date on vaccines, they still have the potential to infect others with pertussis.
I am mother to a sweet little boy who at age 5, was culture-positive for pertussis. He had a nagging cough but otherwise felt fine. Thankfully we pushed for testing even though he was current on his vaccines.
Hello, I’m in California, my son 13 years old just received 10 day ago the TD shot, but now in order to get him in the school he is required to get the tdap shot. My question is, can my son get tdap shot just after 10 day of having received td shot ?
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Yes. He should have a Tdap now. Here are the rules (look at the second recommendation below):
ACIP also recommends that the following groups receive Tdap as soon as feasible:
Adults >65 years who have or anticipate contact with infants age <1 year (e.g., grandparents, child care providers, healthcare providers), regardless of the interval since the last Td.
Adults and adolescents 11 years and older who have not received a prior dose of Tdap or for whom pertussis vaccination history is unknown, regardless of the interval since the last Td.
Children 7–10 years who are unvaccinated or have not received a complete DTaP primary series.
Alex W says
Is Seattle Children’s offering adult vaccinations to parents of patients who are immunocompromised (as they do for flu vaccinations)? Lot’s of Whale 6 (HemOnc) parents would benefit . . .
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE says
First off, there’s a free Tdap clinic this weekend in King County in Renton. 9am-1pm May 12th https://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/communicable/diseases/whoopingcough.aspx
Second, let me find out how to get you access to Tdap shots while you’re at Children’s if at all possible.
Thanks for the comment.
Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a bacterial disease that starts with the symptoms of a common cold and progresses to a severe cough that can last for up to 10 weeks. Pertussis is generally not life threatening for adults but can be fatal for infants less than 2 years old as the cough is often replaced with prolonged periods of not breathing. Infants most often catch pertussis from adults who are either unvaccinated for pertussis or are not up to date on their TDAP booster. The CDC has several updated recommendations for who should be vaccinated and when each person should be vaccinated, easily navigated at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/combo-vaccines/DTaP-Td-DT/tdap.htm
Lee Ann says
What if I had a Dtap 10 years ago exactly. Do I need a new one before seeing a newborn soon?