The Tdap booster shot is a relatively new vaccine. It replaced the older tetanus booster shot (Td) for adolescents and adults, which was recommended for children older than eleven years of age and adults. This vaccine contains the same amount of tetanus component as the childhood DTaP vaccine, but it contains less diphtheria and whooping cough components. Consequently, the Tdap vaccine is less likely to cause fever and local swelling of the skin.
If you are concerned about thimerosal, the new Tdap vaccine does not contain any thimerosal. The Tdap vaccine is manufactured differently than the older Td tetanus booster, which did contain thimerosal.
The Tdap booster functions similarly to the DTaP vaccine for children. Receiving this vaccine reminds one's immune system about the tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough infection. This vaccine is unique because it is recommended for all adults every ten years, and it has no upper limit age range. You should check with your doctor to see whether you are due for a Tdap booster. Remember, most babies catch whooping cough from family members, primarily older children and adults. Being up to date on the whooping cough shot not only protects you, but it protects your children from whooping cough.