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Combined tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (Td)


On September 1, 2020, changes were made to the Québec Immunization Program. These changes are based on a recommendation made by the Comité sur l’immunisation du Québec and concern vaccines administered at school. To find out more, go to the Changes made to the school-based vaccination program section.


Vaccination is the best protection against these diseases and their complications:

Québec’s immunization schedule provides for the administration of one dose of the diphtheria and tetanus vaccine in Secondary 3. To ensure the best possible protection, a booster dose of the vaccine is recommended at 50 years of age. Under some circumstances, a dirty wound for example, the booster dose could be given before this.


Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine, e.g. redness at the injection site. Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine, e.g. cold, gastro, headache.

Td vaccine is safe. Most reactions are harmless and do not last long.

The nature and frequency of possible reactions to vaccine
FrequencyPossible reactions to the vaccine

In most cases
(more than 50% of people)

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Fatigue, headache

Very often
(less than 50% of people)

  • Redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Discomfort, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, shivering

(less than 10% of people)

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting
  • Irritability, drowsiness (sleepiness)
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes

(less than 1% of people)

  • Small lump for a few weeks at the injection site

Very rarely
(less than 1 person in 10,000)

  • Sterile abscess at the injection site
  • Intense pain and weakness in the arm for several weeks

What to do after vaccination

Tips to follow immediately following vaccination

Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.

If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.

Tips to follow at home

If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.

Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.

When to seek medical help

See a doctor if one of the following applies to you:

  • You experience serious and unusual symptoms
  • Your symptoms get worse instead of improving
  • Your symptoms last over 48 hours

Last update: June 20, 2019


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