Tetanus vaccine, also known as tetanus toxoid (TT), is an inactive vaccine used to prevent tetanus. During childhood five doses are recommended, with a sixth given during adolescence. Additional doses every 10 years are recommended. After three doses almost everyone is immune. In those who are not up to date on their tetanus immunization a booster should be given within 48 hours of an injury. In those with high risk injuries who are not fully immunized tetanus antitoxin may also be recommended. Making sure women who are pregnant are up to date on their tetanus immunization and, if not, immunizing them can prevent neonatal tetanus.
The vaccine is very safe including during pregnancy and in those with HIV/AIDS. Redness and pain at the site of injection occur in between 25% and 85% of people. Fever, feeling tired, and minor muscles pains occur in less than 1% of people. Severe allergic reactions occur in less than one in 100,000 people.
A number of vaccine combinations include the tetanus vaccine such as DTaP and Tdap which contain diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine, and DT and Td which contain diphtheria and tetanus vaccine. DTaP and DT are given to children less than seven years old while Tdap and Td are given to those seven years old and older. The lowercase d and p denote lower strengths of diphtheria and pertussis vaccines.
The tetanus vaccine was developed in 1927 and became available in the United States in the 1940s. Its use resulted in a 95% decrease in the rate of tetanus. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. The wholesale cost in the developing world is between 0.17 and 0.65 USD per dose as of 2014. In the United States a course of tetanus vaccine is between 25 and 50 USD.
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