This four-in-one vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio. 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 other 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
What is polio?
- A highly contagious disease caused by the poliovirus
- Spread by eating food or drinking water with the polio germ in it, as well as from person to person
- Can cause nerve damage, severe muscle pain and weakness, paralysis and even death
Who should get Tdap-Polio vaccine?
- Children 4 years and older, usually given as the 4-6 year booster
- Unimmunized children and adults
- To attend school, all students in Ontario require tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and polio vaccination
Talk to your doctor/public health nurse if you:
- Had a bad reaction to a vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine, had a serious reaction to neomycin
- polymyxin B or streptomycin, or have any other allergies*
- Are pregnant
- Take medications or have any diseases that lower the immune system or increase bleeding
- Feel very sick
What if a needle is missed?
- 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, pertussis, and polio. 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-Polio 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-Polio®: 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
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