Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio (DTaP-IPV) Vaccine

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Last Updated: 
March 2014
Keep your child safe.
Get all vaccines on time.
By getting all vaccines on time, your child can be protected from many diseases over a lifetime.

Immunization has saved more lives in Canada in the last 50 years than any other health measure.

What is the DTaP-IPV vaccine?

The DTaP-IPV vaccine protects against 4 diseases:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Polio

The vaccine is approved by Health Canada and is provided free as part of your child’s routine immunizations. Call your health care provider to make an appointment.

Who should get the DTaP-IPV vaccine?

The vaccine is given as a single dose to kindergarten-age children starting at age 4. This is a booster dose for children who were immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio at a younger age.

For more information see HealthLinkBC File #15b Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus influenzae Type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib) Vaccine and HealthLinkBC File #105 Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio, and Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib) Vaccine.

The booster dose strengthens or boosts the immune system to give better protection against these diseases.

It is important to keep a record of all immunizations received.

What are the benefits of DTaP-IPV vaccine?

The DTaP-IPV vaccine is the best way to protect your child against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio, which are serious and sometimes fatal diseases.

When you get your child immunized, you help protect others as well.

What are the possible reactions after the vaccine?

Vaccines are very safe. It is safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease.

Common reactions to the vaccine may include soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given. Some children may have a fever, or experience crankiness, drowsiness, or a loss of appetite. These reactions are mild and generally last 1 to 2 days. Large areas of redness and swelling may be present but these generally do not interfere with normal activity.

Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) or ibuprofen* (e.g. Advil®) can be given for fever or soreness. ASA (e.g. Aspirin®) should not be given to anyone under 18 years of age due to the risk of Reye Syndrome.
*Ibuprofen should not be given to children under 6 months of age without first speaking to your health care provider.

For more information on Reye Syndrome, see HealthLinkBC File #84 Reye Syndrome.

It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is an extremely rare possibility of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. If this happens after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. This reaction can be treated, and occurs in less than 1 in a million people who get the vaccine.

It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health care provider.

Who should not get the DTaP-IPV vaccine?

Speak with your health care provider if your child has had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of a diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, or polio vaccine, or any component of the vaccine, including neomycin and polymyxin B, or to latex. The vaccine is not given to people 7 years of age and older.

People who developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) within 8 weeks of getting a tetanus vaccine, without another cause being identified, should not get the DTaP-IPV vaccine. GBS is a rare condition that can result in weakness and paralysis of the body's muscles. It most commonly occurs after infections, but in rare cases can also occur after some vaccines.

There is no need to delay getting immunized because of a cold or other mild illness. However, if you have concerns, speak with your health care provider.

What are Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, and Polio?

Diphtheria is a serious infection of the nose and throat caused by diphtheria bacteria. The bacteria are spread through the air by persons sneezing or coughing and by direct skin-to-skin contact. The disease can result in very severe breathing problems. It can also cause heart failure and paralysis. About 1 in 10 people who get diphtheria may die.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a serious infection of the airways caused by pertussis bacteria. Pertussis can cause pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage or death. These complications are seen most often in infants. The bacteria are easily spread by coughing, sneezing or close face-to-face contact. Pertussis can cause severe coughing that often ends with a whooping sound before the next breath. This cough can last several months and occurs more often at night. About 1 in 170 infants who get pertussis may die. For more information about pertussis, see HealthLinkBC File #15c Pertussis (Whooping Cough).

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is caused by bacteria mostly found in the soil. When the bacteria enter the skin through a cut or scrape, they produce a poison that can cause painful tightening of muscles all over the body. It is very serious if the breathing muscles are affected. Up to 1 in 5 people who get tetanus may die.

Polio is a disease caused by infection with a virus. While most polio infections show no symptoms, others can result in paralysis of arms or legs and even death. Paralysis occurs in about 1 in 200 people infected with the polio virus. Polio can be spread by contact with the bowel movements (stool) of an infected person. This can happen from eating food or drinking water contaminated with stool.

Diphtheria, tetanus and polio are now rare in B.C. because of routine childhood immunization programs. Whooping cough still occurs but is much less common than it used to be, and is much milder in immunized people.

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Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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