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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives


     Indian Health Manual
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Part 1, Chapter 12:  Manual Appendix I

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Td Vaccines

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT DIPHTHERIA. TETANUS AND Td VACCINE

WHAT IS DIPHTHERIA?

Diphtheria is a very serious disease which can affect people in different ways.  It can cause an infection in the nose and throat which can interfere with breathing.  Sometimes it causes heart failure or paralysis.  About one person out of every 10 who gets diphtheria dies of it.

WHAT IS TETANUS?

Tetanus, or lockjaw, results when wounds are infected with tetanus bacteria, which are often found in dirt.  The bacteria in the wound make a poison which causes the muscles of the body to go into spasm.  Four out of every 10 persons who get tetanus die of it.

Tetanus and diphtheria (Td) Vaccine:  Immunization with Td vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent these diseases.  All adults lacking a primary series of tetanus and diphtheria vaccines should complete a series with Td.  All adults for whom 10 years or more have elapsed since completion of their primary series or since the last booster dose should receive a booster dose-of Td.  Thereafter, a booster dose of Td should be administered every 10 years.

Side effects from Td vaccine are not common and soreness and slight fever.  As with any drug or vaccine, there is a rare possibility that allergic or more serious reactions occur.

Td is not known to cause special problems for pregnant women or their unborn babies.  Therefore, pregnant women who need Td should receive it, preferably during the second and/or third trimesters.

WARNING-- SOME PERSONS WHO SHOULD NOT TAKE THESE VACCINES WITHOUT CHECKING WITH A DOCTOR INCLUDE:

Anyone who is sick right now with something more serious than a cold.

Anyone who has had a convulsion or is suspected to have a problem of the nervous system.

Anyone who has had, a serious reaction to diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (DTP), diphtheria and tetanus vaccine (DT) or Td vaccine before, such as:  an allergic reaction to an vaccine component; a temperature of 105 F or greater; a convulsion or other more serious problems of the brain.  Most, if not all reactions to DTP are due to the pertussis component; therefore, Td would not be contraindicated.

Anyone taking a drug or undergoing treatment that lowers the body's resistance to infection, such as: cortisone, prednisone, certain anticancer drugs, or irradiation.

QUESTIONS:  If you have any questions about diphtheria, tetanus, or Td vaccination, please ask now before you sign consent.


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