Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (TDAP) Vaccine

General Information

Tdap is a new vaccine that protects individuals from 3 diseases caused by bacteria - tetanus, diptheria and pertussis.

Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is a life threatening infection acquired from a wound contaminated by soil, dust, or animal excreta. It occurs in unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated persons. Risk factors for the disease include lack of primary immunization and inappropriate wound care. Symptoms may include low grade fever, painful muscle spasms, and convulsions.

Diphtheria is an infection, usually of the tonsils, throat, nose, or mucous membranes, acquired by person to person transmission.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. In adults, the cough generally does not have the characteristic whoop, and the infection can be difficult to diagnose. It can be transmitted fairly easily from person to person and outbreaks can occur. Although all children receive pertussis vaccination in childhood, it appears that immunity lessens over time and adolescents and adults that have been immunized in childhood are susceptible.

Adults should have one booster dose of Tdap. This is generally given 10 years after latest booster of dT but may be given as soon as 2 years after last dT if protection against pertussis is desired.

In the event of a high risk wound (i.e. wounds contaminated with dirt, feces, soil, saliva, or burns), a tetanus booster is recommended after 5 years.

Possible side effects of Tdap include: red, hardened, tender area at the site of injection. Fever, chills, fatigue and aching are uncommon. Severe allergic or anaphylactic reactions are rare.

Individuals who have had severe reactions to dT or previous pertussis immunization should not receive this vaccine. Persons who have a moderate or severe illness (such as a respiratory infection with fever) on the day the shot is to be received should defer vaccination until illness is resolved.


  1. Call the Administrative Assistant at U-M Occupational Health Services to request needed vaccine. Vaccine will be sent to site via courier.  
  2. Have employee sign a consent form. (This link is only a sample. Please call U-M OHS to have actual consent forms sent to your site.) Employee is given the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS). A VIS must be given out prior to administration of the vaccine, and it must be given out each time the vaccine is given. Lot number and injection site are documented on the consent form. Pregnancy should be ruled out by history and LMP.  
  3. Administer 0.5 cc IM into the non-dominant Deltoid with a 1 in. 23 gauge needle.  
  4. Document administration on consent form and send to U-M Occupational Health Services.