How Does the Tetanus Vaccine Work?

Written by claudette pendleton
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How Does the Tetanus Vaccine Work?

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The Tetanus Vaccine

The tetanus vaccine was first given to World War II soldiers in 1924, and has been given to numerous children within the United States since the latter part of 1940. The vaccine saved the lives of countless soldiers. The tetanus vaccine stops tetanus from occurring and is generally administered into an individual's arm with a sterilised vaccination needle.

How Does the Tetanus Vaccine Work?
Diphtheria tetanus combination and vaccination needle


The tetanus vaccine is a toxoid. Toxoid vaccines are created by treating the poisons (toxins) with chemicals or heat. The poisonous toxins that are treated are the very microorganisms (germs) that cause the tetanus disease. The treating of the germs via heat destroys the toxins' ability to produce the sickness. However, the toxin can continue to energise the immune system enough to generate defensive antibodies. When an individual is given this type of tetanus toxin, it permits the human body's resistance capability to be equipped in case the individual's body is ever affected by the tetanus disease.

Adult receiving (Td) tetanus vaccination
Adult receiving (Td) tetanus vaccination

Dosage Requirements for Tetanus Vaccine

The number of people afflicted with tetanus in the United States is about 50 per year. However, in previous years the amount ranged from 400 to 500 per year. The tetanus vaccine is generally administered to infants and children. Diphtheria toxoid (D), acellular pertussis (aP) vaccine, and the tetanus vaccine are all combined together to create the DTaP shot. The tetanus dosage for children should include five doses of DTaP by the age of six years old. The dosage begins at two months of age and should be given every two months up until six months of age. The fourth dosage should be between 12 and 18 months and the last one should be given between four and six years of age.

Once a child reaches the age of seven years or older, he or she should be administered an adult dosage of the diphtheria and tetanus vaccine combination. The adult dosage consists of a smaller amount of the diphtheria vaccine. The diphtheria and tetanus vaccine combination is also referred to as Td or TD. The tetanus booster shot generally consists of both the tetanus vaccine and the diphtheria vaccine.

When a child reaches the age of 11 or 12, booster tetanus shots should be administered. To sustain protection for a lifetime, booster shots should be given every 10 years after the first one at the age of 11 or 12. There are also special occasions when an individual should receive a tetanus booster shot. If an individual has an infected wound and has not had a tetanus shot for over five years, it is important to get a tetanus shot as soon as possible.

infant receiving (DTaP) tetanus vaccination
infant receiving (DTaP) tetanus vaccination

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