The 6 Vaccines All Parents (and Grandparents) Need

Tetanus/Whooping Cough and Hepatitis B Vaccines


Why You Need It: Protection against tetanus (also known as lockjaw, a disease caused by a bacterial infection), diphtheria (a respiratory infection), and pertussis (whooping cough) fades over time. The bacteria that causes lockjaw makes a toxin, or poison, that causes severe muscle spasms. Newborns are especially vulnerable to these illnesses during the first six weeks because they're not old enough to be vaccinated. The Td booster dose is recommended every 10 years, but the Tdap is given only once.

Get It If:

  • You're age 64 or younger and you weren't previously vaccinated (get Tdap).
  • You're age 65 or older and are in close contact with infants younger than 12 months (get Tdap).
  • You're age 65 or younger and are in close contact with infants younger than 12 months (get Td booster).
  • It's been 10 years since your last Tdap or Td vaccination (get Td booster).
  • You work in health care (get either Tdap or Td booster).

Skip It If:

  • You're less than 20 weeks pregnant. Tdap or Td can be given later in pregnancy or after childbirth.
  • You have epilepsy, Guillain-Barr? Syndrome, or another nervous system disorder.


Why You Need It: Many of the 1 million people infected with hepatitis B don't know they have it. Infected mothers can pass the disease, which causes liver disease and cancer, to infants at birth.

Get It If:

  • You're pregnant and haven't been vaccinated already.
  • You have more than one sexual partner.
  • You're age 60 or older and have diabetes.
  • You work in health care.
  • You live with someone who has hepatitis B.

Skip It If:

  • You have a life-threatening allergy to yeast.

Related Features:

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment