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medication and syringe


​Tdap Vaccine

Adacel®, Boostrix®

This three-in-one vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. These diseases are easily prevented with immunization.

What is tetanus (lockjaw)?

  • Caused by a germ that can be found anywhere, but usually in dirt, dust and feces (poop)
  • Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds
  • Is not spread person to person
  • Causes painful muscle cramping and muscle spasms
  • Kills 1 out of every 5 people who get it

What is diphtheria?

  • An infection caused by a germ that spreads to others by coughing and sneezing
  • Symptoms include sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing, and loss of appetite
  • Can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and death
  • Kills 1 out of every 10 people who get it

What is pertussis (whooping cough)?

  • A common infection that spreads easily by coughing and sneezing  
  • Causes severe coughing spells, which can lead to vomiting and breathing and sleeping difficulties
  • Pertussis can cause pneumonia, brain damage and death
  • Each year 1-3 deaths occur in Canada, mostly in young infants

Who should get Tdap vaccine?

  • Adolescents (“teens”) who are due for a booster shot
  • Adults and seniors who did not receive the vaccine in adulthood (19 years or older)
  • Pregnant women, after 26 weeks of pregnancy, who have not received a dose in adulthood

Talk to your doctor/public health nurse if you:

  • Had a bad reaction to a vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine or have any other allergies*
  • Are less than 26 weeks into your pregnancy
  • Take medications or have any diseases that lower the immune system or increase bleeding
  • Feel very sick

What if a needle is missed?

  • You should get the next needle as soon as possible
  • If you didn’t follow the routine immunization schedule a "catch-up" schedule will be recommended

What if I decide not to be immunized?

Choosing not to be immunized or delaying immunization puts you/your child at risk of getting sick with tetanus, diphtheria and/or pertussis.  These vaccines are required by law (Immunization of School Pupils Act, 2014) for school attendance. Students who are not vaccinated may be suspended from school.

Is Tdap vaccine safe?

  • Yes!  You may have no reaction or mild symptoms that include:
  • Redness, swelling,  and pain where the needle went in
  • Low fever
  • Children may become fussy or sleepier than usual;
  • These normal reactions usually last between 12 and 24 hours.  

When should I call my doctor?

Serious reactions after vaccination are very rare.  Get immediate medical help if you/your child have any unusual symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing, swelling in your face/mouth and/or blotchy skin (hives)
  • fever above 40°C (104°F);
  • crying or fussing for more than 24 hours;
  • worsening swelling, redness, and/or pain where the needle went in;
  • unusual sleepiness (difficult to wake)

You know best.  If you notice anything that is not normal after a vaccination, check with your healthcare provider.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

*Boostrix®: no latex used in product or container however manufacturer (GlaxoSmithKline) cannot guarantee exposure to latex as the non-latex cap and syringe are made by a third party manufacturer.


  • Make sure to update your immunization record
  • Notify the Health Unit each time your child receives a vaccine by phone (519-753-4937 ext. 451) or online

Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian Immunization Guide), Publicly Funded Schedules for Ontario (March 2015)

This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. Please note there is a cost for immunizations that are not included in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 492 or

Immunization Updates and Appointment Booking
519-753-4937 ext. 451