The DTap and Tdap Vaccine: Health 101

Are there any side effects from the DTaP vaccine?

Contracting diphtheria, tetanus, or whooping cough is much more dangerous than any side effects from the vaccine.

Mild reactions to the DTaP vaccine are common, especially after the fourth and fifth doses. Most side effects are due to the pertussis portion of the vaccination; children who have moderate or severe reactions may be able to receive a DT vaccine instead.

  • Up to 25 percent of children will experience low fever or redness, swelling or pain near the shot site.
  • Up to one-third of children may cry or be fussier after the shot.
  • Up to 10 percent of children may be more tired or have a decreased appetite.
  • Up to 2 percent of children may experience vomiting.

Moderate -- and less common -- reactions to the DTaP vaccine include seizure, nonstop crying for three or more hours, and very high fever (105 F. or higher taken rectally).

As with any vaccine, severe allergic reactions are very rare (less than one in a million cases), but possible. If you notice your child having difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat shortly after receiving any shot, call your doctor right away.

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