Tdap vaccine side effects in adults

Updated April 17, 2017

Adults are recommended to get a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccine every 10 years or if they receive a serious wound. However, there is a risk of side effects with any vaccination.

What TDAP Protects Against

The tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine protects against lock jaw, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Who Should not Get the Tdap

Tdap is not recommended for people who have had a bad reaction to the vaccine in the past, including those that have experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, including seizures within seven days of a previous vaccination.

Mild Side Effects

Mild side effects of the Tdap vaccine do not interfere with day-to-day activities and include pain at the injection site, redness or swelling, mild fever of at least 100.4 degrees F, headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ache, chills, body aches, sore joints, rash and swollen glands.

Moderate Side Effects

Moderate side effects interfere with activities, but do not require medical attention and includes pain at the injection site, fever more than 38.9 degrees C, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomachache.

Severe Side Effects

Severe side effects are rare and leave the person unable to perform usual activities and requiring medical attention. While these are extremely rare, they include extreme swelling at the injection site and nervous-system problems.

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About the Author

Rebecca Johnson has been a public-sector technical trainer since 1996. Along with creating training materials, she specializes in technical writing and how-to documentation for computer software. Johnson is a Microsoft-certified master instructor and holds a bachelor's degree in communicating technology.