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Tetanus, also known as Lockjaw, is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium tetani. Tetanus infection can be prevented with Tetanus vaccination.

Vaccination schedule adapted from IAP* Advisory Committee of Vaccination & Immunization Practices (ACVIP) *Indian Academy of Pediatrics
What should you do if you miss the vaccination?

If you miss out the dose of these vaccinations during the stipulated time, you can consult with your doctor for a Catch-up Vaccination.

Did you know?
  • Tetanus-causing bacteria are present in the environment, including in the soil, and they can enter your body through cuts, scratches, and open wounds.
  • You can also get a tetanus infection through dental infections, surgical procedures, compound fractures, and intravenous drug use.
Don’t Delay!

Talk to your doctor about the Tetanus Vaccination.

What is Tetanus?

Clostridium tetani, the bacteria that causes Tetanus, are commonly found in soil, saliva, dust, and manure. Once infected, the person may experience painful muscular contractions, especially in the jaw and neck region. It is also called Lockjaw as the patient may find it difficult to breathe, swallow, and move their mouth and neck.

How is Tetanus Transmitted?

Spores of the Tetanus bacteria are commonly present in the environment around us. A person risks being primarily infected if the bacteria enters the body, usually through injuries caused by contaminated objects. As per the CDC, Clostridium tetani may cause an infection through the following:

  • Wounds contaminated with dirt, faeces, or saliva
  • Puncture wounds, with nail or needle
  • Burns
  • Crush injuries
  • Injuries with dead tissue

According to the CDC, some of the other ways that the Tetanus bacteria can infect you include:

  • Clean superficial wounds
  • Surgical procedures
  • Insect bites
  • Dental infections
  • Compound fractures (exposed bone)
  • Chronic sores and infections
  • Intravenous (IV) drug use
  • Intramuscular injections

While the incubation period (time from exposure to illness) is 3 to 21 days, most cases are seen between 10 to 14 days. Shorter incubation periods are seen in cases like:

  • More heavily contaminated wounds
  • More serious disease

Tetanus cannot be transmitted from person to person.

Symptoms and Complications of Tetanus

Tetanus infections are usually seen in individuals who have never been vaccinated against it. According to the WHO, some of the common symptoms include:

  • cramped jaw or difficulty in opening mouth
  • difficulties in swallowing and breathing
  • muscle spasms, usually in the back, abdomen, and extremities
  • seizures
  • headache
  • fever and sweating
  • blood pressure or heart rate changes

The bacteria may affect newborns as well. Common signs of neonatal symptoms include muscle spasms and difficulties in being breastfed or sucking, often accompanied by crying.

When Should a Child Receive Vaccination for Tetanus?

Tetanus vaccination can offer protection against Tetanus . According to the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Immunization Practices (ACVIP), the vaccine is administered in three doses, each dose at the following ages:

  • 6 weeks of age
  • 10 weeks of age
  • 14 weeks of age

Furthermore, booster doses for tetanus vaccination are to be given at the ages of 16-18 months and 4-6 years.

Tdap (reduced antigen combined tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) at 10-12 years.

Booster doses (Tdap) are required for adults as well.

Please consult your paediatrician for more information.

However, consult your doctor for more information.

What are the Common Side Effects Associated with Tetanus Vaccination?

As with several vaccinations, tetanus vaccinations may also cause soreness, redness, or swelling at the site of the injection. Some other severe but rare side effects include, seizures, coma, permanent brain damage and altered consciousness.

If you notice any such symptoms, consult your paediatrician immediately.

For more details on side effects, please consult your doctor.


Can I get a Tetanus infection more than once?

An individual may experience a Tetanus infection more than once. Recovery from Tetanus does not translate to natural immunity. If a person has recovered from Tetanus, it is advisable for them to be vaccinated.

A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India.

Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material constitutes medical advice. Please consult your doctor for any medical queries, any question or concern you may have regarding your condition. The disease list indicated for vaccination is not complete, please consult your child’s Paediatrician for the complete vaccination schedule. The doctor shown in this material is being used for illustrative purpose only and is a professional model. The disease representation icons/images and animation are for illustrative purpose only.

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A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material constitutes medical advice. Please consult your doctor for medical advice or any question or concern you may have regarding your condition. Please consult your doctor/child’s Paediatrician for the complete list of vaccine-preventable diseases and the complete vaccination schedule for each disease. The doctor, if any, shown in this material is for illustration purpose only and is a professional model. All scientific information is validated, for details write to us on
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CL code: NP-IN-HZU-WCNT-230015 , DoP: Aug 2023

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