What is DTP?
'D' stands for Diphtheria, 'T' stands for Tetanus
and 'P' stands for Pertussis. These three are serious diseases
caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and Pertussis are spread from
one person to another while Tetanus enters the body through
cuts and wounds, which may not appear dangerous and are often
unnoticed or neglected.
What are the symptoms and harmful
effects of DTP?
Diphtheria: It causes a thick covering
in the back of the throat. It can lead to breathing problems,
paralysis, heart failure and even death in severe cases.
Tetanus: It causes painful tightening of the
muscles usually all over the body. Tetanus can lead to locking
of the jaw as a result the victim cannot open his mouth or
swallow. Deaths because of Tetanus are around 10%.
Pertussis (whooping cough or black cough): It
causes severe coughing spells that it is hard for infants
to eat, drink or even breathe. These spells can last for weeks.
Pertussis can lead to Pneumonia, convulsions, Brain Damage
Who is susceptible of DTP?
All un-protected children are at danger of these three
serious diseases. DTP can be prevented by vaccinating children.
Who should get DTP vaccine and when?
All children should get five doses of DTP vaccine
as per the schedule mentioned below:
6 weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks,
1st booster - 16-18 months,
2nd booster - 5 years
Can DTP vaccine be taken during
Children with minor illness such as cold may be vaccinated
but children who are moderately or severely ill should wait
until they recover
A child who had a life threatening allergic reaction after
a dose of DTP vaccination should not get another dose.
A child who had encephalopathy (brain illness) or nervous
system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTP should not
get another dose.
A child who had a temperature of 105oF within 48 hours after
a dose of DTP should probably not get another dose of Pertussis-containing
A child who collapses or goes into a "shock-like"
state within 48 hours after a dose of DTP should probably
not get another dose of Pertussis-containing vaccine.
A child who cries continuously for 3 or more hours within
48 hours after a dose of DTP should probably not get another
dose of Pertussis-containing vaccine.
A child who has convulsions within 3 days after a dose of
DTP should probably not get another dose of Pertussis-containing
What is the importance of booster
It has been observed that even after 3 doses of DTP
vaccine. The protection level is only 80% hence it is prudent
to administer 2 boosters for better protection against DTP.
Can DTP vaccine be given to older
children and adults?
DTP should not be given to anyone of age 7 years and
above because Pertussis vaccine is only licensed for children
under 7 years but if older children, adolescents and adults
still need a protection from Tetanus and Diphtheria, a booster
dose of DT is recommended at 11-12 years of age and then every
What are the risks from DTP vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing
serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk
of DTP vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely
Mild Problems (Common)
Redness or swelling
Soreness or tenderness at the site of injection.
Other mild problems include:
Irritability Fussiness (up to about 1 child in 3)
Tiredness or poor appetite (up to about 1 child in 10)
Nausea (up to about 1 child in 50)
These problems generally occur 1-3 days after the injection.
Moderate Problems (Uncommon)
Seizure (about 1 child out of 14,000)
Non-stop crying, for 3 hours or more (up to about 1 child
out of 1,000)
High fever, over 105oF (about 1 child out of 16,000).
Severe Problems (Very Rare)
Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of million doses)