DPT vaccination

Also known as triple vaccine, an injection that provides immunity against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus; The vaccine causes the body to produce antibodies against these infections. It is given as a course of 3 injections at 2, 3, and 4 months, followed by a preschool booster dose. Before leaving school, a further diphtheria and tetanus booster is given. The vaccine does not provide complete immunity to diphtheria or pertussis but reduces risk of serious illness. Protection against pertussis and tetanus gradually wanes. In adults, pertussis is mild but can be transmitted to children. Since tetanus is serious at any age, boosters are recommended at the time of any dirty, penetrating injury if there has not been a vaccination in the past 10 years. Reactions to the diphtheria and tetanus parts of the vaccine are rare. The pertussis vaccine often causes slight fever and irritability for a day or so. More serious reactions are extremely rare and include seizures and an allergic reaction, which may lead to sudden breathing difficulty and shock. Permanent damage from the vaccine is even rarer. Doctors are now agreed that for most children, the benefits of DPT outweigh the minimal risk from the vaccine. The pertussis element of the vaccine should not be given to children who have reacted severely to a preceding dose of the vaccine, or who have a progressing brain abnormality.


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