Boostrix (diphtheria, tetanus acellular, and pertussis adult vaccine - also called Tdap) is used to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis in people who are at least 4 years old. Most people in this age group require only one Tdap shot for protection against these diseases.
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria.
Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open the mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 out of 10 cases.
Diphtheria causes a thick coating in the nose, throat, and airways. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, or death.
Pertussis (whooping cough) causes coughing so severe that it interferes with eating, drinking, or breathing. These spells can last for weeks and can lead to pneumonia, seizures (convulsions), brain damage, and death.
Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound.
Boostrix is especially important for healthcare workers or people who have close contact with a baby younger than 12 months old.
Boostrix works by exposing you to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.
Like any vaccine, Boostrix may not provide protection from disease in every person.
You can still receive the Boostrix vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving Boostrix vaccine.
You should not receive Boostrix if you have ever had had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a tetanus, diphtheria, or pertussis vaccine. You also should not receive Boostrix if you had a neurologic disorder affecting your brain within 7 days after having a previous pertussis vaccine.
Becoming infected with diphtheria, pertussis, or tetanus is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the Boostrix vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
Boostrix is usually given once every 10 years.