Questions & Answers
Diphtheria - The Vaccine
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  1. How is the vaccine given?
    The vaccine is given as a single injection into the muscle (IM). The usual schedule for infants is a series of four doses given at two, four, six, and 15 to 18 months of age. A fifth shot, or booster dose, is recommended at 4 to 6 years of age, unless the fourth dose was given late (after the fourth birthday). Because immunity to diphtheria and pertussis wanes with time, adolescents (11 to 18 years old) should receive a booster dose of Tdap and later booster doses of Td (adult tetanus and diphtheria) every ten years.

  2. I received Tdap a few days ago. Now my arm is red and swollen down to the elbow. What should I do?
    The redness and swelling may be an adverse event caused by your Tdap immunization. Contact your healthcare provider or the IHB. We can help you to get treatment and help you file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report.

  3. My child has a large lump where the DTaP shot was given. Should I take her to our pediatrician?
    DTaP vaccination may cause side effects, such as swelling, redness, pain, and/or warmth where the shot was given. These side effects may last for 1 to 2 days, and usually go away on their own. If you have more questions, contact a IHB healthcare provider and send us a photo of the reaction using our Ask VHC secure messaging.