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What Are The Side Effects of Tetanus Shot & Amp; How Long Do They Last?

What Are The Side Effects of Tetanus Shot & Amp; How Long Do They Last?

There are practically no specific contraindications for tetanus toxoid. Acute febrile illnesses do not contraindicate vaccination in the event of a potentially infected wound. If there is a history of neurological reaction or severe hypersensitivity after the administration of the first dose of vaccine, vaccination should be replaced by passive immunization with IGT in the case of potentially infected wounds.

There is no contraindication in pregnancy; the guideline in pregnant women (in cases considered necessary as a history of incorrect vaccination and potentially tetanus wounds or developing countries) is two separate doses at least 4 weeks and the second dose two weeks before delivery.

What Are The Side Effects of Tetanus Shot & Amp; How Long Do They Last?

There is also a low incidence of side effects, the most frequent being local reactions that usually appear at 4-8 hours after injection. An increase in this type of reactions has been related to the number of doses received and their greater severity with a high level of circulating antitoxin. It is recommended not to administer the vaccine more frequently than suggested.

Systemic side effects are seldom present (febrile reactions, headaches, myalgias, anorexia, vomiting). Exceptionally, acute anaphylactic reactions and neurological reactions have been described.

The administration of the tetanus vaccine in individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) could produce an increase in viremia and viral load, which would be temporary and would not contraindicate the administration of the vaccine. In children of an HIV-infected mother, the same immunization schedule is maintained regarding tetanus (2, 4, 6 and 18 months, and booster doses at 4 and 14 years).

Prolonged administration of immunosuppressive agents (corticosteroids, antimetabolites, radiotherapy) may decrease the immune response to the preparation. In cases of non-prolonged immunosuppressive treatment, the possibility of postponing vaccination should be considered until one month after the end of that treatment.

How Long Do Tetanus Shot Side Effects Last?

As aforementioned, tetanus vaccine could provoke certain local side effects, which appear just a few hours after the injection, but they are mostly mild and transitory (there is no a specific duration, being different in each patient). However, these can be effectively treated. More severe reactions to the vaccine are extremely rare.

Vaccine side effects are side effects that occur as a result of vaccination. Most of the side effects produced by vaccination are mild and transient and are limited to pain or swelling at the puncture site.

The cause of the side effects can be due to the tetanus vaccine itself, to the preservatives that are included to keep it stable, the antibiotics that are added at times to avoid its contamination or to other substances present in some vaccines.

The most serious side effects (anaphylactic reactions or encephalopathy) are very infrequent (approximately 1 case of every million placed vaccines) and, as previously explained, much less frequent than those produced by the disease we protect. The most common side effects of most vaccines are:

-Pain, Swelling And Redness At The Puncture Site. It is a relatively frequent and temporary reaction, which can be treated by the local application of a cold compress. If the pain is important, an analgesic such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used.

-The Appearance Of A Small Hard Lump At The Puncture Site. It occurs especially after vaccination against whooping cough and meningitis B. They can be painful if we squeeze them with our hands. It disappears spontaneously after several weeks.

-Fever: Almost any vaccine preparation can produce fever after its administration, but it occurs more frequently after vaccination with triple viral: measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), the vaccine against meningococcus B and after vaccination with DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) although the introduction of new vaccines against whooping cough (DTaP) has made this reaction less frequent. In the case of MMR vaccination, the fever usually appears several days after the vaccination (4 to 15 days later). If fever develops after vaccination, an antipyretic drug (paracetamol or ibuprofen) may be administered to the child and consult with the pediatrician if the fever persists for more than 24-48 hours or other symptoms appear that are alarming or cause concern.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Tetanus Vaccination: https://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/vaccination.html
  2. MedlinePlus – Tetanus Vaccine: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a607026.html

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 12, 2024

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