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Occupational Medicine: What We Do

Tetanus and Diphtheria Vaccine Risks

As with any medicine, there are very small risks that serious problems, even death, could occur after getting a vaccine. The risks from the vaccine are much smaller than the risks from the diseases if people stopped using vaccine. Almost all people who get Td have no problems from it.

Mild Reactions
If a reaction occurs it can start within a few hours to a day or two after vaccination and can last up to 1-2 days. Soreness, redness or swelling are common. These problems can be worse in adults who get the Td vaccine very often. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen (non-aspirin) may be used to reduce soreness.

Moderate Reactions
Serious allergic reactions, deep aching pains and muscle wasting in upper arm(s) are very rare. This may start 2 days to 4 weeks after the shot and may last many months.

Serious Reactions
If a serious reaction occurs call a doctor or get the person to a doctor right away. Write down what happened and the date and time it happened. Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report form or call (800) 822-7967.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program gives compensation for persons thought to be injured by vaccines. For details call (800) 338-2382.