Immunization Information: Tetanus

You received a tetanus shot today. This shot was given to protect you from an infection with the tetanus bacteria. These bacteria are found in the soil. You can get a tetanus infection (also called lockjaw) from a dirty wound, cut, puncture, abrasion, or other break in the skin. Tetanus can be deadly. For this reason, it's vital to be vaccinated against it. If you have never had a tetanus vaccination, 3 shots are needed to fully protect you. You had the first shot today.

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on when and where to return for follow-up. You may be able to get your next shots:

  • From your usual healthcare provider

  • From the local public health department

  • From this facility

When and where to have your next 2 shots

  • Return for your next shot in 4 weeks:  ___________________________________________________

  • Return for your last shot in 6 to 12 months:  ___________________________________________________

Once you are finished with the 3 shots, you will be fully immunized. This means you will be protected against getting tetanus for up to 10 years.

If you have an injury that is risky before this time, you may receive a booster shot.

To help you remember the date of your last tetanus shot, keep a record of your vaccines. Put an electronic reminder of your next vaccination dates in the calendar of your smartphone or computer.

When to get medical advice

After a tetanus shot, most people have only mild soreness in the arm for a day or so. Contact your healthcare provider or this facility if you develop symptoms of allergic reaction, which include:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site

  • Trouble breathing

  • Rash

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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