Tetanus Vaccination

Archived Q&A and Reviews

March 2004

Looking for info on finding a tetanus vaccine for a one-year old which comes without diptheria or pertusis attached. This is commonly available for adults but difficult to find for children. shana

My understanding is that the tetanus vaccine is available alone, but not without thimerosal. Anon
i found the tetnus only shot through my daughter's pediatrition, robin winokur. the issue i had with it is that the tetnus only shot that they were offering had thimerisol in it so i ended up going for the tetnus plus diptheria shot that was thimerisol free. she needed two injections to make it work and i felt that that would be too much thimerisol.
September 2003

I'd like advice from someone who is choosing not to vaccinate their child or who has chosen limited vaccinations. We did some vaccinations until age 2 (not all), including 3 of the DPT shots. We haven't vaccinated since then. The only thing we're considering now is the tetanus shot. I'm wondering what, if anything, people do with this shot? Is there an alternative to a tetanus vaccine? We don't want to vaccinate if it's not absolutely necessary, but we also don't want to risk a tetanus infection. Anxious mom

I recently returned from a family group camp in Mendocino. One of the children there, a great young boy about 9 y.o. (?) had recently hurt his foot rather badly (lacerations of some kind) which seemed to be healing fine. About 2 days into the camp, he woke up sick, swollen, and couldn't open his mouth. To make it short, he was rushed to Ft. Bragg hospital, and then airlifted to Children's in Oakland for an extensive hospitalization. He is the second case of tetanus in N. Ca. in half a century. Thanks to aggressive antibiotic therapy, he's recovering.

Although generally sympathetic to all types of alternative medicine, I definitely go for vaccination. Vaccination has a long history (100's of years!) of success & is cheap and effective for most of us. Andrea

We did HIB, DTAP, and Polio but have opted out of MMR, Hep B, and others that are optional. I would recommend getting Tetanus...as one doctor told me, ''you don't want your child to get lockjaw and die from eating dirt,'' which all kids do. As for other diseases and vaccines, both my kids contracted Chicken Pox so they have natural immunity to that now. I will have my daughter get a Rubella shot when she's a bit older since it is important for her to have this immunity before she gets pregnant. I will also have my son get the Mumps shot when he's between 6-10 yrs. old, assuming it is available in single form somewhere. I've heard Mumps can cause sterility in men. Here are my own guidelines: 1) only do one vaccine shot at a time. This way if the child has a reaction, you know which vaccine caused it. It also seems less stressful for the child's immature immune system. It does require more visits to the doctor's office or delayed shots. 2) delay vaccines. I don't vaccinate if my child shows any signs of a cold or health problem. 3) Ask your doctor questions and don't be afraid to say, ''not today'' or ''not today; I'd like to do more research but appreciate what you've told me.'' Mercury is a big deal. A recent study linked mercury (also in high concentrations in bigger fish, like swordfish) to the high rate of autism which has doubled in California (can't remember over what time period). Make sure you ask if the vaccine has mercury in it. We actually were kicked out of one pediatric practice because we chose not to do MMR. In certain states, California being one, you can philosophically opt out. Schools usually require you to sign a form acknowledging this. anon
We are similar to you in that my son is only partially vaccinated. However if you have done all the DPT shots then I believe your child only needs a booster as they enter kindergarten and then one again when they're older. The booster is Tetanus with a bit of diptheria rather than the full DPT concoction (and pertussis is the controversial part of that one). We decided to complete the series as tetanus is just too darn scary to mess around with! SW
We have 4 kids; the first we vaccinated up to 15mo and the rest have had no vaccinations. Since we don't live around horses or cows we're not at risk for tetnus. It is possible, however, to obtain the tetnus vaccination seperate from the Diptheria and Pertussis. Kathy
This is a followup to an earlier posting in which someone advised asking the pediatrician about any mercury content in tetanus vaccines due to a concern about autism. Although mercury was commonly added to vaccines as a constituent of thimoserol, a preservative, the vaccines routinely administered to infants and young children in the United States no longer contain this compound. It should also be recognized that a number of recent epidemiologic studies have found no evidence to support a causal link between vaccinations and autism. However, it is makes complete sense to avoid exposing your children to mercury--it's definitely not healthy for developing brains. But these days kids are more likely to get it from fresh fish than vaccines. Joe