The DPT stands for Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough) and Tetanus (the “a” stands for acellular, a type of Pertussis vaccine that causes less fever and soreness that the traditional DPT). Diphtheria is an infection of the throat which is often fatal. It also affects the heart. Whooping cough is an infection which causes a spasmodic type of cough and can be fatal in an infant. Tetanus is usually a fatal disease at any age and is characterized by continuous contractions of muscles throughout the body. The DaPT vaccine is given in three successive shots in the first six months. Boosters of this vaccine are given at fifteen months of age, four to five years of age and then the adolescent or adult version of the vaccine is given between age 11 and 12 years, and every ten years thereafter.

The DaPT shot occasionally will cause a local reaction with fever, fussiness and possibly some redness and swelling at the injection site. Very rarely this fever will be high, and even more rarely, convulsions will occur. Some continue to believe there is an extremely rare chance of shock developing as a result of the Pertussis vaccine that can cause permanent damage and even death. However, information available since 1990 indicates that there are no permanent injuries that result from Pertussis vaccine. In fact, without the vaccine, the risk of damage from the illness (Pertussis) is far greater than any from the vaccine itself. The acellular Pertussis (DaPT) is used exclusively by our office. It has been shown to cause less crying and less fever. DaPT immunization is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Center for Disease Control and our office.

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