Diphtheria is an acute bacterial disease that usually affects the tonsils, throat, nose or skin. It is passed from person to person by droplet transmission, usually by breathing in diphtheria bacteria after an infected person has coughed, sneezed or even laughed. Diphtheria can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis and sometimes death.
The DTap, Td, and Tdap vaccines all protect against diphtheria.
Children need four doses of DTaP by 15 months and a Tdap booster at age 11 or 12.
Adults need a tetanus/diphteria (Td) booster every 10 years after the primary series has been completed. For adults, age 18–64 years old, a 1-time dose of Tdap for protection from pertussis is recommended to replace the next Td. Intervals of 2 years or less between Td and Tdap is suggested, but not required