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Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Immunization: Benefits and Side Effects

DTaP stands for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. DTaP immunization is one of the vaccinations that must be given to toddlers.

Diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus are three different diseases, each of which has a high risk and can even cause death. These three diseases are serious diseases that are caused by bacteria. Therefore, DTaP immunization should not be missed.

The disease that can be prevented

Before giving this immunization to your child, you should first find out information about giving immunizations and their side effects.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infectious disease that attacks the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. This disease forms a thick layer of gray in the throat, which can make it difficult for children to eat and breathe. If the infection is left and not treated, the toxins produced by bacteria can cause nerve, kidney, and heart damage.

Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria, which attacks the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, and can affect the skin. This disease is very contagious and includes serious and potentially life-threatening infections.

Read Also : Diphtheria: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

While pertussis, better known as whooping cough, is a bacterial infectious disease that attacks the respiratory system and causes severe coughing. If a child under one year is affected by this disease, it is possible to experience pneumonia, brain damage, seizures, and even death.

While tetanus is a disease that can cause severe muscle stiffness, paralysis, and muscle spasms. This disease is also caused by bacteria. In contrast to diphtheria and pertussis which is contagious, tetanus is not transmitted from person to person, but from dirty wounds and exposed to the ground.

DTaP Immunization Awarding

DTaP immunization in children is given five times, from children aged 2 months to 6 years. The first three gifts are at 2 months, 3 months and 4 months. The 4th gift is at the age of 18 months, and the last gift at the age of 5 years. The dose given is one injection per immunization schedule. Afterward, it is recommended to do a Tdap booster (immunization against Tetanus Diphtheria and Pertussis) every 10 years.

Pay attention to the child's condition before giving immunizations. If your child experiences severe illness when the immunization schedule arrives, then you should wait until the child's condition improves before immunization.

Do not give further immunizations if your child experiences:

  • Disorders of the nervous system or brain, within 7 days after getting immunization injections.
  • Severe allergic reactions that can be life-threatening, after the child is immunized.

Immediately consult a doctor if after immunization, your child experiences:

  • Fever above 40 degrees Celsius.
  • The child does not stop crying for at least 3 hours.
  • The child has a seizure or fainted.

DTaP Side Effects

Side effects of DPT immunization that can occur include:

  • Mild fever
  • Swelling at the injection site
  • The skin at the injection becomes red and sore
  • The child looks tired
  • Children become fussy

These side effects will usually occur within one to three days after the administration of the vaccine. You can give paracetamol to relieve your child's fever and pain. Avoid drugs that contain aspirin, because it can cause health problems that can threaten the lives of children, namely liver and brain damage. Although very rare, DTaP vaccination can cause interference with the brain.

Various types of immunization are required other than DTaP

When your child is growing up, entering elementary school, they will get further immunizations organized by the government during the immunization week, usually going to be done at school or home visits. When he was a baby, he would get basic immunizations, such as:

BCG vaccine (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin)

This vaccine is given to prevent tuberculosis. Usually given with smallpox, polio, and hepatitis B vaccines. After getting this immunization, it is rare to find a fever reaction in babies, coughs, colds.

Poliomyelitis Vaccine

There are two types of vaccines. The deadly poliovirus (salk vaccine) is contained in the vaccine and given by injection. While the most common is given orally by pill or liquid (OPV), there is a live but attenuated poliovirus (sabin). The side effects are almost not found, but if there will be paralysis of the limbs like real polio. Contraindications can include diarrhea, severe pain, and immune disorders.

Measles vaccine

Usually given to babies aged 9 months. The reaction after immunization can be a mild fever and on days 7-8 there is a red spot on the cheek under the ear. The content of this vaccine is in the form of a measles virus that has been weakened. Side effects are very rare, the possibility of mild and harmless seizures can occur in 10-12 days after injection.

Hepatitis B vaccine

Given three times in stages, there is a time lag between the first and second giving, which is about one month, and five months from the second and third giving. But it depends on the vaccine product used. There are almost no side effects from this immunization.

Read Also : What are the Benefits of Hepatitis B Vaccination?

By providing complete immunization to children, you have protected children against several dangerous diseases. Keep in mind your child's immunization schedule and consult your doctor if your child shows alarming symptoms after immunization.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC (2018). Vaccine Information Statements (VISs). Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) VIS
  2. Ben-Joseph, E. Kids Health (2018). For Parents. Your Child's Immunizations: Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis Vaccine (DTaP).
  3. Vaccines (2016). Five Important Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child. 

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Health and clinical interests include all aspects of infectious diseases

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