Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio (Td-IPV) Vaccine

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Last Updated: 
May 2017

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

What is the Td-IPV vaccine?

The Td-IPV vaccine protects against:

  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Polio

The vaccine is approved by Health Canada and is provided free. Call your health care provider to make an appointment.

Who should get the Td-IPV vaccine?

The Td-IPV vaccine is given to adults 18 years of age and older who need protection against tetanus, diphtheria and polio.

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

What are the benefits of Td-IPV vaccine?

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

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

What are the possible reactions after the vaccine?

Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get tetanus, diphtheria or polio.

Common reactions to the vaccine may include soreness, swelling or redness where the vaccine was given. Headache, dizziness and a general feeling of being unwell may also occur.

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, less than 1 in a million, of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes administration of epinephrine (adrenaline) and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

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

Who should not get the Td-IPV vaccine?

Speak with your health care provider if you or your child had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of tetanus, diphtheria, or polio vaccine, or any component of the vaccine including neomycin or polymyxin B.

People who developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) within 8 weeks of getting a tetanus vaccine, without another cause being identified, should not get the Td-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 Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Polio?

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is caused by a 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.

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

Tetanus, diphtheria, and polio are now rare in B.C. because of routine childhood immunization programs.

Mature Minor Consent

It is recommended that parents or guardians and their children discuss consent for immunization. Children under the age of 19, who are able to understand the benefits and possible reactions for each vaccine and the risk of not getting immunized, can legally consent to or refuse immunizations. For more information on mature minor consent see HealthLinkBC File #119 The Infants Act, Mature Minor Consent and Immunization.

For more information on immunizations, visit ImmunizeBC at https://immunizebc.ca/.

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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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