Diphtheria(DTaP) Vaccine, Schedule, Precautions and Side-Effects

Parentune Support
0 to 1 years

Created by Parentune Support
Updated on Jul 12, 2021

DiphtheriaDTaP Vaccine Schedule Precautions and Side Effects
Reviewed by Expert panel

Diphtheria is an acute, toxin-mediated disease caused by bacteria called Corynebacterium Diphtheriae. It lives in the mouth, throat, and nose of an infected person and can be spread to others by coughing or sneezing. A child with diphtheria can infect others for 2 to 4 weeks. The incubation period of diphtheria is 2–5 days (range, 1–10 days). Depending on the site of disease Diphtheria can be of following types...

  1. Anterior Nasal Diphtheria
  2. Pharyngeal and Tonsillar Diphtheria
  3. Laryngeal Diphtheria
  4. Cutaneous (Skin) Diphtheria


Diphtheria(DTaP) Vaccine Dosage

For the purpose of primary immunization, it is recommended that 3 doses each of 0.5 ml should be inoculated on 3 separate occasions at 4 weeks interval. 
The first dose should be given at approximately 6 weeks of age. Although it is recommended that immunization be started at 6 weeks, if for any reason it is delayed, the same schedule may be used up to the sixth birthday. Also in News: Govt launched 5-in-1 pentavalent vaccine replacing DPT vaccine.

Diphtheria Vaccination Administrations

DPT vaccine should be administered by deep intramuscular injection. The preferred site for injection is the anterolateral aspect of the upper thigh. Only sterile needles and syringes should be used for each injection. The vaccine should be well shaken before use. Each injection of the primary immunization series should be made into a different site with a sterile disposable syringe and needle.

Tips of Withdrawing The Vaccine From A Sealed Glass Ampoule

Shake the ampoule to disperse the contents thoroughly immediately before withdrawing the dose. Tap the ampoule to ensure that the solution is in the lower portion rather than in the neck of the ampoule. Wipe the neck of the ampoule with a suitable antiseptic using a sterile piece of cotton break off the top of the ampoule at the constriction by thumb pressure.

Tips of Withdrawing The Vaccine from A Rubber Stoppered Vial

Do not remove the rubber stopper from the vial. Take care of the suggestion given below...

  1. Shake the vial to disperse the contents thoroughly immediately before each withdrawal of vaccine. Apply a sterile piece of cotton moistened with a suitable antiseptic to the surface of the rubber stopper and allow to dry. Draw into the sterile syringe a volume of air equal to the amount of vaccine to be withdrawn from the vial.
  2. Pierce the center of the rubber stopper with the sterile needle of the syringe. Invert the vial, slowly inject into it the air contained in the syringe, and keeping the point of the needle immersed. Withdraw into the syringe the required amount of vaccine. Then hold the syringe plunger steady and withdraw the needle from the vial. 
  3. Carefully insert the needle intramuscularly at the prepared injection site. In order to avoid intravenous injection, pull back the plunger of the syringe to make certain that no blood is withdrawn before injecting the desired dose.

Diphtheria Vaccine Schedule(Age-wise) 

          Age                              Vaccines                                  Note
      6 weeks                 DTPw-1 / DTPa -1  Diphtheria vaccine comes in combination with Pertusis & Tetanus vaccine.
     10 weeks                 DTPw-2 / DTPa -2  Diphtheria vaccine comes in combination with Pertusis & Tetanus.
      14 weeks                 DTPw-3 / DTPa -3  Diphtheria vaccine comes in combination with Pertusis & Tetanus.
     15-18 months          DTPw booster -1 or DTPa booster -1  Diphtheria vaccine comes in combination with Pertussis & Tetanus.
     5 years          DTPw booster -2 or DTPa booster -2  Diphtheria vaccine comes in combination with Pertusis & Tetanus.
    10 years                      Tdap  An Adolescent and Adult Formulation.

ADVERSE Impact Facts

Mild local reactions consisting of erythema, pain, and tenderness, swelling, and induration at the injection site are common, usually self-limited and subside without treatment. Persistent nodules at the site of injection have occurred following the use of an adsorbed vaccine, but this complication is unusual. Abscess at the site of injection has been reported (6-10 per million doses).

Mild to moderate systemic reactions occur frequently following injections of this vaccine. These usually consist of one or more of the following symptoms and signs: temperature elevation 38°C, drowsiness, fretfulness, anorexia, vomiting, and irritability, persistent or unusual crying. These symptoms are most frequent during the first 24 hours following vaccine injection and may persist for one to two days. The following adverse reactions high fever (40.5°C), collapse, screaming episodes, convulsions, signs of encephalopathy which can be serious and, occasionally fatal have been reported following administration of preparations containing pertussis vaccine. The incidence of these reactions is unknown, but they seem to be exceedingly rare, if any of these reactions occur, further immunization against pertussis is contraindicated.

Contradictions & Precautions  

Sudden-infant-death-syndrome (SIDS) has been reported following administration of a vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus toxoids and Pertussis vaccine. The significance of these reports is not clear. It should be borne in mind that the three primary immunizing doses of these vaccines are usually administered to infants between the age of 6 weeks and 6 months and that approximately 85% of SIDS cases occur in the period from one to six months of age with the peak incidence at age two to four months.

Diphtheria Contraindications & Precautions

DPT Vaccine (Adsorbed) should not be administered to infants or children with high fever, or other evidence of acute illness or infection. The presence of an evolving or changing neurological disorder is a contraindication to receipt of this vaccine. While data to support exclusion of pertussis immunization because of a family history of convulsive or other neurological disorders are scarce, a personal or family history of central nervous system disease or convulsions is considered a contraindication to use of this vaccine. Occurrence of any of the following signs, symptoms or conditions following administration is a contraindication to further use of this product and or pertussis vaccine as the single antigen: fever over 40°C (104°F); convulsion(s) with or without accompanying fever; alterations of consciousness; focal neurologic signs; screaming episodes; shock; collapse; thrombocytopenia purpura.

DTaP Vaccination Precautions & Warning

Individuals receiving corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs may not develop an optimum immunologic response. This product should be used only for infants and children from 6 weeks through six years of age. The possibility of allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to the components of the vaccine should be borne in mind. Adrenaline injection (1:1000) should be kept ready for immediate use in case an anaphylactic or acute hypersensitivity reaction occurs. Frequent booster doses of tetanus toxoids in the presence of adequate or excessive serum levels of tetanus antitoxin have been associated with increased incidence and severity of reactions and should be avoided. If hypersensitivity to the diphtheria component is suspected, tetanus toxoids should be used for reinforcing doses.

A separate sterile syringe and needle should be used for each individual patient to prevent the transmission of hepatitis or other infectious agents. 

Vaccine Ingredient

Each diphtheria vaccine dose of 0.5 ml contains...

  • Diphtheria Toxoid
25 Lf.
  • Tetanus Toxoid
5 Lf.
  • B. Pertussis
4 IU
  • Adsorbed on Aluminium Phosphate (AlPO4)
1.5 mg.
  • Thiomersal
0.01% as a preservative.


Diphtheria(DTaP) Side Effects

Diphtheria can initially cause a sore throat, fever, and chills. But if it is not properly diagnosed and treated it produces a toxin (poison) that can cause serious complications such as heart failure or paralysis. About 1 person out of 10 who get diphtheria dies from it.


NOTE: Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccine (Adsorbed) are supplied, ready for use, in rubber-stoppered multi-dose vials, and in single-dose glass ampoules.

  • 0.5 ml X 10 ampoules box
  • 0.5 ml X 50 ampoules box
  • 5 ml - 10 doses single vial carton
  • 5 ml - 10 dose X 50 vials box


Disclaimer Note: This blog is for information sharing only & in no way of a prescriptive nature. Parents should consult the Doctor before opting out for any vaccination for their child at all times.


6 in 1 Vaccination Awareness

Vaccination Awareness is an education initiative by GSK.

A baby’s health and wellbeing are of utmost significance. There is yet another important aspect, to newborn's health and wellness which is vaccination. Once a baby has announced their arrival, it’s important to protect your baby from the germs and infections in their surroundings. A new born’s immune system is not fully developed and so you need to provide protection from germs that can cause illness and infections. Simple Hygiene measures are important but just not enough by themselves to protect your baby against diseases. Hence, Vaccination in the first 3 months post your baby’s arrival is paramount.

A newborn is vulnerable to several serious diseases like Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Hib and Hepatitis B. You must know that all these diseases are vaccine preventable, meaning, if your newborn gets vaccinated as per their immunization schedule, they could be protected against these diseases.

Pertussis is a contagious respiratory disease that could be serious in infants and could lead to hospitalization. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that could block airways and could lead to difficulty in breathing. Besides Diphtheria and Pertussis, combination vaccination also provides protection from Hepatitis B, Polio,Tetanus and Hib. While Polio could lead to paralysis and disability, Hepatitis B is a viral infection affecting the liver. Tetanus could lead to muscle spasms and Hib could cause infections like Pneumonia or brain fever.

Imagine a baby could get a single shot for 6 diseases. Less shots, lesser the discomfort to your newborn with combination vaccination.

So, when your baby is 0-2 months old, consult your Pediatrician to know more about protection from 6 diseases with combination vaccination.


A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only and does not constitute any medical advice. Please consult your Doctor for more information, any question or concern you may have regarding your condition.

Please consult your physician for the complete list of vaccine preventable diseases and for the complete vaccination schedule for each disease.

The mere appearance of this article on this website/page does not constitute an endorsement by GSK or its affiliates of such website/page or any other articles, images or videos, if any, appearing on this website/page.

CL codes: NP-IN-INH-OGM-200101, DOP Dec 2021

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| May 08, 2013

ery * Dear Sir/mam, Goodmorning-I m new here,but read soo many usefut tipes from and other parents My son is 4. 5yrs old. its vaccine time for DPT. this time i took him to MBBS doc instade of childrens doc. MBBS doc charged 80rs,but childrens doc charged 2200/rs. when he was small. Now we are confused which Doc is good..... Pls guid us

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