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Diphtheria/tetanus vaccine (By injection)

Diphtheria Toxoid, Adsorbed (dif-THEER-ee-a TOX-oyd, ad-SORBD), Tetanus Toxoid (TET-a-nus TOX-oyd)

Protects against infections caused by tetanus (lockjaw) and diphtheria.

Brand Name(s):

TDVAX, Tenivac

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not receive this vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to a tetanus vaccine, diphtheria vaccine, or to thimerosal.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot into one of your muscles. This vaccine is usually given in the upper leg of infants or in the shoulder for older children, teenagers, and adults.
  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine.
  • Depending on the age of the child, this vaccine is given as a series of 3 or 4 doses. Teenagers and adults will receive a total of 3 doses.
  • After the first set of shots, you or your child should get a booster shot every 10 years.

If a dose is missed:

  • It is important that you or your child receive all of the doses of vaccine in this series. Try to keep all of your scheduled appointments. If you miss a dose, make another appointment as soon as possible.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are receiving a medicine or treatment that may weaken the immune system. This may include steroids (such as prednisone, dexamethasone, prednisolone, or Medrol®), radiation treatment, or cancer medicines (chemotherapy).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have a bleeding problem or weak immune system.
  • Tell your doctor about any reaction you or your child have had after receiving a vaccine. This includes severe redness or swelling where the shot was given or a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome (a nervous system disorder that causes paralysis) after receiving a vaccine with tetanus.
  • If you or your child develop a skin rash, hives, or any allergic reaction after receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Tell the doctor right away if you or your child are allergic to latex rubber. The prefilled syringes or bottle of vaccine may contain natural rubber latex. This may cause an allergic reaction in patients who are sensitive to latex.
  • This vaccine will not treat an active infection. If you or your child have an infection due to diphtheria or tetanus, you will need medicine to treat the infection.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Chills, fainting, and body aches.
  • Fever higher than 103 degrees F.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Seizures.
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in your neck, armpit, or groin.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Wheezing or trouble with breathing.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Fever below 102 degrees F and drowsiness.
  • Headache or dizziness.
  • Joint, muscle, or bone pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Redness, swelling, or a lump where the shot was given that does not go away after a few days.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 1/7/2020

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

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