What’s the Difference Between Td and Tdap Vaccines?

Vaccine injection. Syringe with medicine in the hands of a doctor in blue gloves.

Wondering what type of diphtheria or tetanus shot you need? MainStreet has all the details on the differences between the Td vaccine and the Tdap vaccine. 

What is Tetanus?

According to the CDC, tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by clostridium tetani. Tetanus bacteria make a toxin that causes painful muscle contractions. It typically targets the neck and jaw muscles, which results in the name “lockjaw”. 

Spores of tetanus bacteria live just about everywhere, including soil and dust. It usually only enters the body through broken skin. Cuts from rusty objects like nails or wire can increase your risk of tetanus. Get a tetanus shot soon after injury to prevent infection. 

Symptoms of tetanus infection include: 

  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate

Symptoms of tetanus can appear anywhere from three to 21 days after exposure. 

What is Diphtheria? 

A bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae causes diphtheria. It spreads through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. While diphtheria has cold-like symptoms, it can be much more serious than a mere cold. Diphtheria bacteria produce a toxin that can lead to trouble breathing, heart problems and more.

Vaccines, typically paired with the tetanus vaccine, protect against diphtheria.

What is the Td Vaccine?

The Td vaccine protects against both tetanus and diphtheria infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a Td booster every 10 years. You can get a booster after five years if you’ve experienced a severe or dirty wound or burn.

Children seven years or older, teens and adults should receive the Td vaccine on this schedule. 

Need another dose of the Td vaccine? MainStreet has you covered! We offer this in our vaccines

What is the Tdap Vaccine? 

The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Formulated for teens and adults, the Tdap vaccine shouldn’t be confused with DTaP. DTaP offers protection from the same diseases for children under seven. 

Pregnant people should receive the Tdap vaccine as opposed to Td. The pertussis vaccine adds an extra layer of protection from whooping cough. Whooping cough primarily affects infants and young children. Experts recommend that pregnant people receive a dose of Tdap early in the third trimester.

Similar to the Td vaccine, teens and adults should get a dose of Tdap every 10 years. MainStreet doesn’t provide Tdap shots in our clinics, but we are happy to offer referrals to other practices. 

Side Effects of Td and Tdap Vaccines

Side effects of the Td and Tdap vaccine are generally mild and include: 

  • Pain, redness or swelling around the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

These side effects typically resolve themselves within a few hours to a day after vaccination. Call 911 if you believe you are having an allergic reaction to a vaccine. 

Turn to MainStreet Family Care

Do you need a Td booster? MainStreet Family Care can help! We offer Td vaccines in both our primary care and urgent care services. 

To visit a clinic, register online. You will be able to wait from home or from your vehicle until we are ready for you. We gladly accept walk-ins, but note that walk-ins may have longer in-clinic wait times. 

Already a primary care patient? Schedule an appointment through the patient portal to receive your updated vaccine.