Tdap and DTaP

Tdap and DTaP are two types of vaccines that can help protect against three serious diseases, including pertussis (whooping cough). Which vaccine a person gets depends on their age.

Family members discussing whooping cough vaccination
Image of patient receiving Tdap vaccination

What is the difference between Tdap and DTaP?

The Tdap and DTaP vaccines help protect against the same diseases but are used for different age groups. Tdap is recommended for older children and adults, and DTaP is recommended for infants and young children.

What do the letters in Tdap and DTaP mean?

The letters of Tdap and DTaP refer to the diseases they protect against. The “a” in DTaP and Tdap stands for “acellular,” meaning the vaccines contain only parts of the bacteria that cause whooping cough instead of the whole bacteria.

Icon: Tdap vaccine vial and needle

Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine. Tdap is the vaccine for older children and adults.

Icon: DTaP vaccine vial and needle

Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine. DTaP is the vaccine for infants and young children.

Image of mother kissing her baby

Who should get DTaP?

Infants and young children are most at risk of serious complications from whooping cough.

Young children and infants should receive a 5-dose series of DTaP, in accordance with recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Image of older couple smiling at each other

Who should get Tdap?

The CDC recommends that adolescents receive a dose of Tdap preferably between 11-12 years of age. Adults 19 years and older should receive a dose of Tdap if they were not previously vaccinated in adolescence. To ensure continued protection against tetanus and diphtheria, booster doses of either Td or Tdap should be administered every 10 years throughout life.

To help protect their infants from whooping cough, pregnant people should receive a Tdap vaccine with every pregnancy, between the 27th and 36th week, preferably in the early part of this time frame, although it could be administered anytime during pregnancy.

Learn more about vaccine series & boosters

Did you know?

In 2021, whooping cough cases were reported in 47 states.