DTAP Vaccine

What is the DTaP Vaccine?

DTaP is a vaccine given to infants and young children and is administered in 5 separate shots. Licensed in 2005, the CDC estimates that these vaccines will prevent 732,000 deaths of children born between 1994 and 2013. The vaccination protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis.

Vial of DTAP vaccine


Diphtheria, the “D” in DTaP, is a highly infections bacterial disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Often life-threatening, Diphtheria can affect the respiratory (involving the nose, throat, and tonsils) or cutaneous (involving the skin) systems.

Symptoms of Diphtheria often include weakness, sore throat, fever, and swollen glands in the neck. As the bacteria embeds itself in the lining of the skin or respiratory system, the toxin released destroys healthy tissue. The infected tissue then forms a gray coating that can build up in the throat or nose, making it difficult to breathe.

Tetanus (Lockjaw)

Tetanus, the “T” in DTaP, is unlike other vaccine-preventable diseases in that it is not spread through human contact. The bacteria that causes Tetanus enters the body through breaks in the skin – like a cut or puncture wound – and can be found in soil, dust, or manure.

Most often, individuals who are infected with tetanus experience stiffness in the jaw, neck, and abdominal muscles; as well as difficulty swallowing and muscle spasms. In some cases, fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure, and increased heart rate also indicate a Tetanus infection.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis, the “P” in DTaP, also known as Whooping Cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract disease caused by Bordetella pertussis. These bacteria can live in the mouth, nose, and throat, making it easy to spread through droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms generally occur within 7 to 10 days of infection and include mild fever, runny nose, and a cough. In most cases, what starts as a mild cough develops into a paroxysmal cough over time, followed by whooping.

Pertussis is most dangerous to infants, but because of infant immunization programs, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 687,000 deaths have been prevented with administration of the DTaP vaccine.

Diptheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertusis vaccine administration

DTaP Vaccine Schedule

Currently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends infants and children receive a total of 5 doses of the DTaP vaccine.

These vaccinations should occur on the following schedule, with one dose at each of the following ages:

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

What’s the difference between DTaP, Tdap, and Td?

The DTaP vaccination is licensed only for infants, adolescents, and children under the age of 7. For children above the age of 7 and adults seeking protection from Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis, Tdap was developed.

The CDC recommends a single dose of Tdap for people between the ages of 11 and 64.

Td, another vaccine, protects against Tetanus and Diphtheria, but not Pertussis. The CDC recommends the Td booster every ten years following either the DTaP or Tdap vaccines.

Potential Side Effects

Side effects of vaccination vary by case, ranging from redness and swelling at the site of the injection, to hives, swelling of the face and throat, a quickened heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness.

Potential Injuries

Scan of Transverse Myelitis resulting form a DTaP vaccine injury

Transverse Myelitis (TM)

Transverse Myelitis (TM) is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation in the spinal cord. This inflammation leads to damage or destruction of myelin, the substance that covers and insulates nerve cell fibers. When myelin is damaged, communication between the nerves within the spinal cord and the rest of the body suffers, and is often interrupted.

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) is a blood disorder that causes low platelet levels, resulting in easy and excessive bleeding and bruising. ITP can be acute or chronic.

National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Vaccines are an important part of public health, working to save lives by preventing disease. Most of the time, vaccines are administered without any serious problems. Like with any medication, however, there is a risk of side effects, ranging from mild to serious.

For this reason, the US government created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), a “no-fault” alternative to the traditional legal system. Petitions can be filed by any individual, at any age, after developing an injury believed to be a result of a covered vaccine, if jurisdictional requirements are met.

Conway Homer, P.C. is the most experienced vaccine injury law firm in the United States. We represent clients from all 50 states and have advocated for landmark cases that have shaped the Vaccine Program and made it friendlier and more generous to those individuals who suffer from vaccine injuries.

To get in touch with our dedicated team, click here for a free consultation.

Conway Homer attorneys specializing in vaccine injury litigation