Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccine and Td (tetanus) vaccine
When recommended: One Tdap shot two years or more after last Td shot followed by a Td shot every ten years. New moms who have never had a Tdap shot (introduced in 2005) should get a dose as soon as possible after delivery.
What you should know: This vaccine protects against three bacterial infections: tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) which causes severe coughing spells that can lead to weight loss, incontinence, vomiting, and fractured ribs. Dr. Rodewald notes that pertussis is still pretty common in and adults and teens can spread the disease to many who are too young to vaccinate. Diphtheria, which can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and death, and pertussis are spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Tetanus which causes painful muscle spasms all over the body and extreme tightening of the jaw muscles, killing about 20 percent of infected people enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds, and can lead to tightening of the jaw muscles that affect normal opening of the mouth or swallowing. For years, doctors told adults simply that they needed to get a tetanus booster shot every ten years, while only children were vaccinated against diphtheria and pertussis. Outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) among adolescents and adults alerted scientists that the protection provided by the childhood pertussis vaccine wanes with time, making this older age group vulnerable. Today, the recommendation is for adolescents and adults - especially parents and caregivers to babies -- to have one Tdap shot, followed by a tetanus booster alone every ten years. That recommendation may change with time to make all of the boosters Tdap. Studies are ongoing.
Possible side effects: From either vaccine: Pain, redness or swelling; mild fever; headache. From Tdap: Fatigue; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache; chills, body aches, sore joints, rash, swollen glands (uncommon)