Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
This combination vaccine (DTaP) is composed of vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough). The use of the acellular pertussis (aP) vaccine is now recommended because it is associated with fewer side effects compared to the previous vaccine.
This vaccine is usually given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. A fourth dose is usually given as early as 12 months, as long as it has been 6 months since the third dose. If the child has received doses
one through four before age 4 years, a booster dose is given before entering kindergarten (age 4-6 years).
An adolescent preparation of the tetanus, reduced diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine is recommended for children 11-12 years of age.
Subsequent booster shots of tetanus and diphtheria (Td) are recommended every 10 years.
Some children may have a fever and pain after this vaccine. To reduce this discomfort, you may give your child an aspirin-free pain reliever for 24 hours after the shot.