Difference between DTap and Tdap Vaccines

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Vaccines are one of the easiest ways to keep ourselves and our community safe from potentially dangerous and infectious diseases.

What are Vaccines?

The toxin of the bacteria or virus which causes the disease is known as antigens. Vaccines are made up of inactive antigens and cause the body to produce antibodies which fight that particular germ. The antibodies remain active in our body for a long time and help us to defend ourselves from the infection when the body really encounters the disease causing germs.

Overview of the Diseases that the DTap and Tdap Vaccines Offer Protection For:

D in the vaccine name refers to Diphtheria, T is for Tetanus and aP refers to acellular Pertussis.

Diphtheria: Diphtheria is a respiratory disease which causes respiratory and breathing problems in children. Paralysis, heart failure and eventually death can also be caused by this deadly disease. The contagious disease is transmitted to others through coughing and sneezing.

Tetanus: This disease is also known as Lockjaw and is caused by a bacterium which is found in the soil. This bacterium can release toxins into the body which targets the nervous system consequently causing muscle spasms and death.

Pertussis: This is a disease which causes severe coughing spasms making it very difficult for the infant to carry out normal routine activities like eating, drinking and breathing subsequently resulting in pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

Confused Between DEM, DTM and DSM !

It is to be understood that both the vaccines contain inactivated forms of the antigens that are produced by the germs causing the three diseases and offer protection for the same diseases. However, the upper case letters in the vaccines offer more protection for the diseases which they refer to while lower case letters offers lesser protection for the diseases. In DTap there is more protection for Diphtheria and Tetanus than acellular Pertussis while Tetanus is given priority in the Tdap vaccine.

DTap Vaccine:

This vaccine is administered as five doses at 2months, 4 months, 6 months, between 15 and 18 months and between 4 and 6 years. The vaccines have been proven relatively safe to be administered with rare occurrence of allergic reaction. Minor side effects such as fever, soreness and tiredness after the vaccine has been administered is common. The cost of the vaccine is around $15 and is marketed under various brand names.

Tdap Vaccine:

This vaccine also offers protection from the same diseases however, it is administered as a booster dose since the immunity that the DTap vaccine offers can reduce over the period of time. Tdap vaccine is administered to children between 7 to 10 years if they have not got the recommended five doses of the DTap vaccine. It is administered as a single dose to children from 11 years to 18 years and adults 19 years or older. The Tdap vaccine is administered only once and is followed by booster doses of Td vaccine every 10 years after the single dose of Tdap. The vaccine is safe for pregnant women and they are advised to take the Tdap vaccine between the 27th and 36th week of gestation.


The development of vaccines for such diseases has checked the spread of the same. A vaccinated person becomes immune to the disease lowering the chance of the individual to spread the disease. It is imperative that both children and adults need to be administered the DTap and the Tdap vaccinations at the right time and with the right doses to prevent the onset and spread of the diseases.

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