Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccine


Article Author:
Shawnna Ogden
John Ludlow
Abdul Waheed


Article Editor:
Khalid Alsayouri


Editors In Chief:
David Wood
Andrew Wilt
Hajira Basit


Managing Editors:
Avais Raja
Orawan Chaigasame
Khalid Alsayouri
Kyle Blair
Radia Jamil
Erin Hughes
Patrick Le
Anoosh Zafar Gondal
Saad Nazir
William Gossman
Hassam Zulfiqar
Navid Mahabadi
Hussain Sajjad
Steve Bhimji
Muhammad Hashmi
John Shell
Matthew Varacallo
Heba Mahdy
Ahmad Malik
Sarosh Vaqar
Mark Pellegrini
James Hughes
Beenish Sohail
Hajira Basit
Phillip Hynes
Sandeep Sekhon


Updated:
8/13/2019 6:54:09 PM

Indications

The DTaP vaccine series is recommended to help protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis in infants and young children.  Individuals susceptible to these vaccine-preventable diseases can develop life-threatening complications and even death.  Since the development of universal vaccines in the 1940s, the number of reported cases from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis declined in the United States. 

Tetanus is an infectious disease caused by neurotoxins produced by the gram-positive bacillus, Clostridium tetani.  The heat resistant spores of the bacteria enter the body at mucous membranes or a breach in the skin.  Toxins are formed, including a highly potent toxin called tetanospasmin. This toxin interferes with the release of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system leading to unopposed muscle contraction and spasm. There is no person to person transmission of C. tetani.[1][2]

Moreover, diphtheria results from infection with by toxin-producing strains of Corynebacterium diphtheriae, gram-positive bacillus. The disease can be transmitted from person to person by droplets or close contact. The bacteria can multiply and produce the diphtheria toxin in the nasopharynx region, mucous membranes, or skin lesions. Early symptoms can include malaise, sore throat, and low-grade fever.  A classic feature of respiratory diphtheria is a gray-colored pseudo-membrane that firmly adheres to the mucosal lining of nasopharynx, tonsils, or larynx. This pseudo-membrane can extend further into the nasal cavity or larynx, obstructing the airways. Cardiac and neurological complications can occur once the toxin reaches the bloodstream. Respiratory droplets or close contact can transmit diphtheria.[1][3]

Pertussis is a respiratory disease, also known as whooping cough, caused by the gram-negative bacillus, Bordetella pertussis. The disease characteristically has three stages: catarrhal, paroxysmal, and convalescent.  The catarrhal stage includes symptoms of coryza, mild cough, and low-grade fever.  Around one to two weeks, the infected person enters the paroxysmal stage with symptoms of spasmodic coughing, posttussive vomiting, and inspiratory whoop. Symptoms slowly improve in the convalescent stage but can last for weeks to months. B. pertussis is transmittable through aerosolized droplets generated by cough or sneezing. People are most infectious at the catarrhal stage or beginning of the paroxysmal stage.[1][4]

Mechanism of Action

The DTaP vaccine consists of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (inactivated toxins) and acellular pertussis antigens. The tetanus component of the vaccine is about 5 to 10 Level of flocculation (Lf) units of manufactured tetanus toxoid. The diphtheria component is a manufactured diphtheria toxoid of about 15 to 25 Lf units. The acellular pertussis component of a DTaP vaccine consists of manufactured pertussis antigens called pertussis toxin, filamentous haemagglutinin, pertactin, and fimbriae type 2 and 3.[1]

 The vaccine produces an active immune response of the body by developing antibodies and antitoxins against the toxoids and acellular pertussis antigens. The two single DTaP vaccines available in the United States and approved by the FDA are Daptacel and Infanrix. 

Administration

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends administering the DTaP five-dose vaccine series for children six weeks continuing through to six years of age.[5] Routine dose recommendations are for the following ages:

  • Two months; minimum age of six weeks
  • Four months; the second dose should be given at least 4 weeks after the first
  • Six months; the third dose should be given at least 4 weeks after the second
  • Fifteen through eighteen months; the minimum age for the fourth dose is 12 months and should be given at a minimum six months after the third dose.  It may be counted as valid if given at least four months after the third dose, and the child was at least 12 months old
  • Four through six years; the minimum age for the fifth dose is 4 years old.  The dose should be given at least six months after the fourth dose.  

The DTaP dose is 0.5 mL and given intramuscularly.  The preferred intramuscular injection site for infants to two years of age is the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. For children at three years of age and older, the preferred site is the deltoid muscle.[1]  DTaP vaccines can also be available in combination with other childhood vaccines.

Children unimmunized or incompletely immunized should receive catch-up immunizations. This process is possible with minimal intervals between doses. 

  • Dose 1 to dose 2 - four weeks
  • Dose 2 to dose 3 - four weeks
  • Dose 3 to dose 4- six months, the minimum age for dose 4 is 12 months
  • Dose 4 to dose 5 - six months

The fifth dose is not necessary if the fourth dose was given by at least 4 years of age and at least four months after the third dose. 

Adverse Effects

Whole-cell pertussis vaccines known as DTP vaccines, were commonly associated with local adverse events, including swelling, redness, and pain at the injection site. DTP vaccines were replaced by DTaP vaccines in the 1990s to reduce the number of these common adverse events. Less common adverse events for pertussis vaccines are seizures, hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes, and prolonged crying.[1][4]

Vaccines with tetanus toxoids can cause brachial neuritis based on case reports and studies reviewed by the World Health Organization and ACIP.  The cases can be severe but are rare, and brachial neuritis is usually self-limited.[1][2]

ACIP has reviewed several studies regarding a simultaneous administration of DTaP with other vaccines. An increased risk may exist for febrile seizures within 24 hours when administering the inactivated influenza vaccine along with the pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine or the DTaP vaccine. The overall risk for febrile seizures is small, with any combination of vaccines. Therefore, the ACIP recommends a simultaneous administration of these vaccines.[1]

Contraindications

Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis after administration of the DTaP vaccine or vaccine component is considered a contraindication.  Encephalopathy (coma, a decreased level of consciousness, or prolonged seizures) that occurs within seven days of DTaP administration and with no identifiable cause is also a contraindication.  

Monitoring

ACIP reviewed studies that showed children developed a significant antibody response and antitoxin levels of the diseases after three to four doses of either Infanrix or Daptacel. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) surveyed any adverse events with acellular pertussis vaccine in the United States. Overall, the studies support the safety of DTaP.[1]

Clinicians should defer any vaccines with pertussis components in infants or children with suspected or evolving neurological disease, including seizures. Vaccination with pertussis components can begin or resume upon establishing a treatment regimen, or the condition has stabilized.[1]

An Arthus reaction (type III hypersensitivity reaction) can occur after administration of vaccines with diphtheria toxoids or tetanus toxoids.  Symptoms of the reaction include severe pain, swelling, induration, edema, hemorrhage, and occasionally necrosis. The reaction is rare after vaccine administration and resolves over time. An Arthus reaction is not a contraindication to the DTaP vaccine, but any vaccines with tetanus toxoids should be administered every 10 years.[1]

Toxicity

There is no known antidote or treatment to the DTaP vaccine. Anaphylaxis can occur but is extremely rare. The reaction is treatable with an intramuscular injection of epinephrine.

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

Vaccine coverage is considered high among infants, children, and adolescents, but clinical data shows that adults have reduced immunity, and vaccine coverage declines with increasing age; this can result from waning immunity or non-vaccination.  Vaccines with acellular pertussis do not protect for as long as the prior whole-cell pertussis vaccines. In 2005, the ACIP recommended that adolescents and adults over 10 years of age receive a single dose of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (TdaP) vaccine.  After receipt of Tdap, the recommendation for adolescents and adults is to receive a booster dose of tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Td) vaccine every 10 years or when indicated for wound management. [Level 1]

In 2012, to reduce the burden of pertussis in infants, ACIP recommended a dose of Tdap for women during each pregnancy. Clinical studies indicated that newborn infants of mothers vaccinated during pregnancy had higher concentrations of pertussis antibodies at birth compared to newborns of unvaccinated mothers during pregnancy. [Level 1]

In various health care settings, exposure of pertussis can occur to either healthcare providers, patients, or hospital visitors.  Depending on the approach, the management of exposure or pertussis outbreak can be complicated and costly. [Level 3] Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) is recommended for healthcare personnel in contact with persons at risk for pertussis. This prophylaxis includes antibiotic treatment with a macrolide such as azithromycin and immediate evaluation of persons with cough illness.

Vaccination programs, in general, require the efforts of an interprofessional team approach. The will be ordered by the treating physician (MD DO, NP, or PA) and often administered by nursing staff.  Pharmacists will assist in dose preparation and also must know the vaccination schedules or have access to them. To be sure, all members of the healthcare team should familiarize themselves thoroughly with the various vaccination schedules. Nursing will also be in the best position to monitor for adverse events or allergic reactions, which, while rare, can occur. These events should be reported to the physician immediately. Only through this type of collaborative interprofessional care can tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccines be administered most effectively for optimal results. [Level V]


Interested in Participating?

We are looking for contributors to author, edit, and peer review our vast library of review articles and multiple choice questions. In as little as 2-3 hours you can make a significant contribution to your specialty. In return for a small amount of your time, you will receive free access to all content and you will be published as an author or editor in eBooks, apps, online CME/CE activities, and an online Learning Management System for students, teachers, and program directors that allows access to review materials in over 500 specialties.

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor

This is an academic project designed to provide inexpensive peer-reviewed Apps, eBooks, and very soon an online CME/CE system to help students identify weaknesses and improve knowledge. We would like you to consider being an author or editor. Please click here to learn more. Thank you for you for your interest, the StatPearls Publishing Editorial Team.

Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccine - Questions

Take a quiz of the questions on this article.

Take Quiz
An adopted 10-month-old child is brought to the physician's office by the adoptive parents to establish care. No immunization records are available. The adoptive parents were told that the child's vaccinations are up to date. When should the next dose of the DTaP series be administered?



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up
A four-year-old child comes to the clinic for a yearly well-child exam. The mother reports cold symptoms of fever, cough, and nasal congestion for the past few days. He has a significant past medical history for a seizure disorder, and his last seizure occurred over a year ago. His vaccinations are up to date. His vital signs are BP 100/60 mmHg, temperature 100.2F, heart rate 78/min, respiratory rate of 18/min, and 100% oxygen saturation on room air. A physical exam is unremarkable, except for clear nasal discharge. Which of the following vaccines should be administered to this patient at this time?



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up
A 5-year-old child is brought to the clinic for a yearly well-child exam. The patient has no significant past medical history or developmental delays. The child has missed several appointments and is behind on vaccinations. The last vaccinations given were at the age of four months. His parents would like the child to be caught up on his immunizations. Which dose of the DTaP vaccine series is most appropriate at this appointment and how soon can the other doses be administered?



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up
A mother brings in her six-month-old daughter for a routine checkup. The mother reports the child is doing well, and her vaccinations are up to date. The mother is concerned about continuing the DTaP vaccination for her daughter due to a fever of a 102 F two days after administration of her second dose of DTaP. The mother asks if the child should continue the DTaP vaccine series, and if so, when should the next dose be given?



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up
A six-year-old child presents to the clinic for a routine check-up. The child has no significant past medical history except for a speech and fine motor developmental delay. He is currently receiving therapy for the delays and showing improvement. The child has not received any vaccinations since the age of two. When is the most appropriate time to administer the next dose of DTaP and which injection site is preferred for the vaccine?



Click Your Answer Below


Would you like to access teaching points and more information on this topic?

Improve Content - Become an Author or Editor and get free access to the entire database, free eBooks, as well as free CME/CE as it becomes available. If interested, please click on "Sign Up" to register.

Purchase- Want immediate access to questions, answers, and teaching points? They can be purchased above at Apps and eBooks.


Sign Up

Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (DTaP) Vaccine - References

References

Liang JL,Tiwari T,Moro P,Messonnier NE,Reingold A,Sawyer M,Clark TA, Prevention of Pertussis, Tetanus, and Diphtheria with Vaccines in the United States: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. Recommendations and reports : Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports. 2018 Apr 27;     [PubMed]
Tetanus vaccines: WHO position paper – February 2017. Releve epidemiologique hebdomadaire. 2017 Feb 10;     [PubMed]
Robinson CL,Bernstein H,Romero JR,Szilagyi P, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children and Adolescents Aged 18 Years or Younger - United States, 2019. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2019 Feb 8;     [PubMed]
Diphtheria vaccine: WHO position paper – August 2017. Releve epidemiologique hebdomadaire. 2017 Aug 4;     [PubMed]
Pertussis vaccines: WHO position paper - September 2015. Releve epidemiologique hebdomadaire. 2015 Aug 28;     [PubMed]

Disclaimer

The intent of StatPearls is to provide practice questions and explanations to assist you in identifying and resolving knowledge deficits. These questions and explanations are not intended to be a source of the knowledge base of all of medicine, nor is it intended to be a board or certification review of Pediatrics-Medical Student. The authors or editors do not warrant the information is complete or accurate. The reader is encouraged to verify each answer and explanation in several references. All drug indications and dosages should be verified before administration.

StatPearls offers the most comprehensive database of free multiple-choice questions with explanations and short review chapters ever developed. This system helps physicians, medical students, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and allied health professionals identify education deficits and learn new concepts. StatPearls is not a board or certification review system for Pediatrics-Medical Student, it is a learning system that you can use to help improve your knowledge base of medicine for life-long learning. StatPearls will help you identify your weaknesses so that when you are ready to study for a board or certification exam in Pediatrics-Medical Student, you will already be prepared.

Our content is updated continuously through a multi-step peer review process that will help you be prepared and review for a thorough knowledge of Pediatrics-Medical Student. When it is time for the Pediatrics-Medical Student board and certification exam, you will already be ready. Besides online study quizzes, we also publish our peer-reviewed content in eBooks and mobile Apps. We also offer inexpensive CME/CE, so our content can be used to attain education credits while you study Pediatrics-Medical Student.