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By Anonymous July 15, 2011 - 5:20am
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About 6 months ago, Jan 2011 I had a tetanus booster. Because of an accident I had approx 15 years ago, being that I was unconcious I was given a tetanus booster. I had had all the childhood including tetanus, plus when I was a teenager following a puncture wound. because of that experience I had a booster 10 years later. Up to a point none of it mattered much to me until now ( I am in late 40's now) because until I had the most recent booster there had been the gap of 15 years, and as I understood it a persons immunity weakens over time, plus I do alot of gardening. However, after mentioning to a friend, they told me about the fairly new low dose triple vaccine for adults that include diphtheria and pertussis. Had I known, I would have liked to have had it done. In a way I am not overly bothered about it at the moment, but within a few years I would like to do some travelling and feel I would want it done. BUT, being that I have had the tetanus I would be worried about having another one too soon because all in all I have had 8 so far! Although I have never had any reactions or site irritation, only this last one a slight ache in the upper arm for a couple of days. I would like to know if it is still possible to get the others seperately, or if I were to wait a few years, would it be safe to have it with another tetanus. Maybe I misunderstood but I read something that said if one has too much of the tetanus vaccine it will end up with the opposite effect and be uneffective! Hope that all made sense! Thank you for your help, much appreciated and needed, because I am quite upset about it.. Peter.. (my wife frequently uses this site)

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Hi Peter,

Thanks so much for writing. The combination vaccine that you're referring to is known as DTaP which is a vaccination for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. However, this is a childhood vaccine that is generally given before a child even enters school. But older people still need protection. A vaccine called Tdap is similar to DTaP. A single dose of Tdap is recommended for people 11 through 64 years of age. Another vaccine, called Td, protects against tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis. It is recommended every 10 years.

If you would like to know whether you are protected against Diphtheria and Pertussis, what you can do is go to your doctor and get a blood test known as a "titer" done-- the antibody titer is a test that measures the presence and amount of antibodies in blood and whether or not you could benefit from the vaccines. Unfortunately, because you just got a tetanus booster, you won't be able to get a combination vaccine any time soon-- since it's recommended about every 10 years. Use this information for future reference so that you can bring it up to your doctor if you would like to also be protected against Diphtheria and Pertussis.

Best Wishes,


July 15, 2011 - 8:22am
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