Summary of tetanus immunisation policy

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This summary focuses on tetanus immunisation information, and includes recommendations for the use of the vaccine, contraindications, and precautions.

Tetanus is a disease caused by tetanus toxin, released by the bacterium Clostridium tetani.  Tetanus spores can be found in soil or manure and may be introduced into the body through a puncture wound, burn, or scratch which can go unnoticed. It can never be eradicated because the spores are commonly present in the environment, but is not spread from person to person.

The tetanus vaccine is only given as part of combined products for the UK national vaccination programme:

  • diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis/inactivated polio vaccine/Haemophilus influenzae type b/Hepatitis B (DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB)
  • diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis/inactivated polio vaccine (DTaP/IPV or dTaP/IPV)
  • tetanus/diphtheria/inactivated polio vaccine (Td/IPV).

The combined vaccines above should be used where protection is required against tetanus, diphtheria, or polio in order to provide comprehensive, long-term protection against all three diseases.

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