Diseases Home > Precautions and Warnings With Tdap

With Tdap, there are many precautions and warnings to be aware of before receiving the vaccine. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have (or previously had) epilepsy, a stroke, or other nervous system disorders, as Tdap may not be suitable for you. You should not get Tdap if you have experienced prolonged seizures within seven days of any vaccine containing pertussis antigen.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Getting Tdap?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving Tdap (Adacel®, Boostrix®) if you have:
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • An immune-suppressing condition such as HIV or AIDS, diabetes, or cancer
  • Had any sort of a reaction to any vaccine in the past
  • Epilepsy or any other nervous system disorder
  • An illness or infection (such as the flu)
  • Had a recent stroke
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Tdap Precautions and Warnings

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving Tdap include the following:
  • If you are moderately to severely ill, it is probably a good idea to postpone vaccination with Tdap until you are feeling better.
  • There is some evidence that tetanus toxoid (one of the components of Tdap) might be linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (a serious nervous system problem).
  • Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have ever had any serious reactions to any vaccines in the past. It is probably a good idea to ask your parents or other caregivers if you had any problems with your childhood vaccinations.
  • Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have (or have had) epilepsy, seizures, a stroke, or any other nervous system disorders. In some cases, Tdap may need to be postponed; in other cases, Tdap may not be recommended at all.
  • If you have had severe swelling or pain with any previous vaccine that contained tetanus toxoid, you should not receive Tdap unless at least 10 years have passed since your last vaccination with tetanus toxoid.
  • Make sure to tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to latex, as part of the Boostrix and Adacel prefilled syringes may contain latex (they come in both prefilled syringes and in vials). The Adacel vial and the Boostrix vial do not contain latex.


  • If you have an immune-suppressing condition, Tdap may not be as effective as usual for producing immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis.


  • Tdap vaccines do not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). Individuals who are concerned about exposure to thimerosal can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal (not even trace amounts). Some people are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines; Adacel contains 0.33 mg of aluminum per dose and Boostrix contains no more than 0.39 mg of aluminum per dose.
  • These vaccines are not made from human fetal components, as some vaccines are. However, Boostrix is made from bovine (cow) components.


Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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