DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis)

DTaP vaccine prevents diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Children younger than seven years of age get DTaP vaccine. Older children and adults receive different vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

What Are Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis?

Diphtheria is an infection caused by toxins produced from the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria. Diphtheria is transmitted from person to person through droplets from coughing or sneezing. Diphtheria can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death.

Tetanus, commonly called lock jaw, is an infection caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria. People get tetanus when bacterial spores enter through broken skin. Tetanus causes painful stiffening of the muscles. Serious health problems include being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing or breathing, or death.

Pertussus, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious respiratory illness caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Whooping cough is transmitted from person to person through the air through coughing and sneezing, or by sharing a breathing space. Whooping cough can cause violent coughing that makes it hard to breathe, eat, or drink. It is especially serious in babies and young children as it can cause pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, or death.

Vaccine Schedule

Children should get five doses of DTaP over a specific timeframe. Children should receive one dose at each of the following ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15 to 18 months
  • 4 to 6 years

Vaccine Information Statements

The Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) is given to parents/guardians at the time of vaccination. It explains the benefits and risks of specific vaccinations. You will receive one or more of these VIS handouts listed below depending on the specific brand of vaccine.

Childhood Vaccine Program

The Washington State Childhood Vaccination Program provides vaccines to children 18 years of age and younger at no cost. DTaP vaccine is included in this program.

DTaP Vaccine Requirement for Schools

  • Vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis is required for child care and school entry in the state of Washington. Learn more about school and child care immunization requirements by visiting the Department of Health’s school immunization web page.

Fact Sheets