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Tdap is a vaccine that helps prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). It is a "booster" vaccine that is generally given as just a single dose. After receiving Tdap, the standard Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccine is recommended once every 10 years. Tdap is approved for children as young as 10 or 11 years old, depending on the particular brand.

An Overview of Tdap Uses

Tdap (Adacel®, Boostrix®) is a "booster" vaccine used for the prevention of pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, and diphtheria in adolescents and adults. Specifically, Adacel is approved for people 11 to 64 years of age, while Boostrix is approved for people age 10 and older (including people over the age of 64).
Previously, the pertussis vaccine was given only as a childhood vaccine (as part of the DTaP series). Individuals who completed the DTaP series of vaccinations received boosters of just the diphtheria and tetanus components (as the Td vaccine), usually once every 10 years.
However, healthcare providers began noticing that pertussis seemed to be on the rise in adults and adolescents (who had been vaccinated as children and should have been protected from the disease). It is now known that the childhood DTaP series does not provide sufficient protection from pertussis throughout adolescence and adulthood.
As a result, this vaccine was developed in order to provide a booster of additional protection from pertussis. It is given as just a single dose for most people, except for pregnant women, who should receive a dose with each pregnancy, even if they have had the vaccine before.
After receiving this vaccine, the standard Td vaccine (which was given in the past) is recommended once every 10 years, just as was previously recommended.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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