Diphtheria vaccine


Diphtheria vaccine

Diphtheria vaccine is a vaccine against Corynebacterium diphtheriae, the bacterium that causes diphtheria. Its use has resulted in a more than 90% decrease in number of cases globally between 1980 and 2000. The first dose is recommended at six weeks of age with two additional doses four weeks apart, after which it is about 95% effective during childhood. Three further doses are recommended during childhood. It is unclear if further doses later in life are needed.

The diphtheria vaccine is very safe. Significant side effects are rare. Pain may occur at the injection site. A bump may form at the site of injection that lasts a few weeks. The vaccine is safe in both pregnancy and among those who have a poor immune function.

The diphtheria vaccine is delivered in several combinations. Some combinations (Td and DT vaccines) include tetanus vaccine, others (known as DPT vaccine or DTaP vaccine depending on the pertussis antigen used) comes with the tetanus and pertussis vaccines, and still others include additional vaccines such as Hib vaccinehepatitis B vaccine, or inactivated polio vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended its use since 1974. About 84% of the world population is vaccinated. It is given as an intramuscular injection. The vaccine needs to be kept cold but not frozen.

The diphtheria vaccine was developed in 1923. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.

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