How Long Are Tetanus Shots Good For (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10 Years

There is not one particular vaccine for tetanus, instead, there are different types of vaccines for tetanus that should be given to people during different stages of life. These different stages could be infancy, adult age, pregnancy, and other such phrases. Depending upon the type of tetanus vaccine that is given to a particular person, the time for how long tetanus is good varies. 

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How Long Are Tetanus Shots Good For?

Different Types Of Tetanus ShotsEffective Period
Diphtheria and tetanus (DT) vaccine10 years to 12 years
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine10 years to 12 years
Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine10 years to 12 years
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine10 years to 12 years

Majorly there are four types of tetanus vaccines given to people. These vaccines are:

  • diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccines
  • diphtheria and tetanus (DT) vaccines
  • tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines
  • tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccines

It is quite obvious that none of these types of tetanus vaccines lasts effectively for a lifetime. However, the time duration can differ with changes in the type of vaccine.

Diphtheria and tetanus vaccine or also known as DT vaccine is majorly for babies, children, preteens, teens, and adults. 

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine, or also known as the Tdap vaccine is majorly given to adults who have not had tetanus vaccine at an early age. Apart from that, the Tdap vaccine is also provided to females during the third trimester of pregnancy. The main function of this vaccine is that it protects the unborn child during his or her infancy stage from whooping cough.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines, or also known as DTaP vaccines are the ones given to babies, children, and adolescents. It is recommended by doctors to provide this vaccine to babies after a certain period to ensure maximum possible protection to babies from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The DTaP vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccine is provided to infants in multiple rounds that are at the age of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and lastly 4 to 6 years. 

Why Are Tetanus Shots Good For That Long?

Tetanus Shots are mainly to protect the human body from a particular type of bacteria, which is known as Clostridium tetani bacteria. this bacteria is mainly responsible to cause tetanus. When given the recommended amount of tetanus shots, it is not always necessary to always get another tetanus vaccine shot to prolong its effectiveness. However, after a certain period, it is important to get booster shots which are not precisely tetanus vaccine shots. But these booster shots boost up the antibodies produced in the body. As a result, the effectiveness of the tetanus vaccine increases. 

These Clostridium tetani bacteria are existing in almost every place around us and are a big threat to human bodies as they can reach the bloodstream. The main entry points for this bacteria to enter the bloodstreams are open wounds, burns, and punctures.

When entered into the bloodstream, these bacteria can cause serious health problems such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • vocal cord spasms
  • pneumonia
  • extreme muscle spasms that can also result in broken bones
  • blood clots in the lungs
  • difficulty in breathing. 

Tetanus is also identified as a locked jaw because the major symptom of tetanus is a cramped jaw. Other major symptoms of tetanus can be:

  • fever or sweating
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • an increased heart rate

Although the symptoms of tetanus are shown within two weeks, its incubation period can range anywhere from a minimum of 3 days to a maximum of 3 weeks.

Conclusion

Apart from this, there are certain cases when the doctor recommends the person to not get vaccinated for tetanus through the tetanus vaccine. The major reason for this could be if the vaccine has caused certain side effects in your body. The side effects of the tetanus vaccine could be swelling or tenderness at the injection site, decreased appetite, lethargy, headaches, rash, an upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and fever.

Apart from this, tetanus shots are also not advised to people who have experienced seizures, people with any nervous system disorders, or people who have Guillain-Barré syndrome.

References

  1. https://bjanaesthesia.org/article/S0007-0912(17)36647-3/abstract
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673607612616
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