You have probably already figured out the Tdap and DTaP aren’t the same vaccine, after all, if they were, why would they have different names, right?
Are the Tdap and DTaP Vaccines the Same Thing?
I bet you don’t know the difference between the two vaccines though.
Yes, they both are both combination vaccines that protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
The difference is that one (DTaP) is used as the primary series for infants and younger children (age 6 years and under) and the other (Tdap) is given to older children (age 7 years and above), teens, and adults.
Okay, that’s not the only difference.
The DTaP vaccine actually contains more diphtheria and pertussis antigens than Tdap, which is why it has the capital “D” and “P” in its name. The amount of tetanus toxoid antigens are about the same in both vaccines.
So Tdap contains the same amount of tetanus toxoid, plus a reduced amount of diphtheria and acellular pertussis antigens, as compared to DTaP.
While you would think that older children and adults would get the vaccine with the higher amount of antigens, since they are bigger, that’s not how this works. Vaccines typically start working at the injection site, so body size isn’t a key factor in determining the amount of ingredients.
As a booster dose of vaccine, the lower amount of antigens works just fine and helps reduce the risk of side effects from repeated doses that you might get with higher antigen counts.
More on Tdap vs DTaP
- VAXOPEDIA – What to Do If Your Child Is Exposed to Pertussis
- VAXOPEDIA – Can Vaccinated Children Be Asymptomatic Carriers of Pertussis
- VAXOPEDIA – Do More Vaccinated or Unvaccinated Kids Get Pertussis?
- VAXOPEDIA – Pertussis Outbreaks
- VAXOPEDIA – Do Pertussis Vaccines Work Against Pertactin-Negative Pertussis
- VAXOPEDIA – What Causes Non-Stop Crying After DTaP Vaccines?
- VAXOPEDIA – Why Are the DPT and OPV Vaccines Still Used in Some Countries
- VAXOPEDIA – A Shot at the Dark – DPT vs DTaP
- VAXOPEDIA – Can You Treat Tetanus Without a Tetanus Shot?
- VAXOPEDIA – 5 Myths About Tetanus and Tetanus Shots
- VAXOPEDIA – Tetanus and Tetanus Shots
- VAXOPEDIA – DTaP Vaccine Reactions – Is This Normal?
- VAXOPEDIA – Diphtheria in Canada
- VAXOPEDIA – Anti-Vaccine Points Refuted A Thousand Times
- CDC – Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccine Safety
- Ask the Experts about Pertussis Vaccines (DTaP, Tdap)
- Tdap or DTaP