Difference Between DTap and TDap Vaccines

The management of communicable diseases was brought to the forefront due to the utilization of antibiotics. But now the preventive aspects of communicable diseases are being revised, and new techniques are coming up to prevent the spread of infections. Infections that have been on the way out from being the important causes for human morbidity and mortality are diphtheria, pertusis, and tetanus. The battle against these infections and their spread take the form of vaccinations. But they are not without controversy. However, if you take risk versus benefit, evidence based way of looking at vaccines suggests that they do more good than harm. Here, we will discuss the two types of DPT vaccinations and how they differ from each other.

DTap Vaccine

DTap is a combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertusis. These contain acellular pertusis; thus, targeting more specific antigens with less immune response, in contrast to the whole-cell variant of the vaccine. The reduced side effects include, fever, pain and redness. Recently it was indicated that this acellular component is less efficient in transferring immunity, as they are unable to cover the present strains fully. This vaccination is used in the childhood immunization programs around the world.

TDap Vaccine

TDap is also a combined vaccine against the above mentioned microbes. But this vaccine is specified for adolescents and adults. This combined vaccine has a higher concentration of tetanus toxoid; thus, transferring a higher level of immunity against the tetanus bacterium. In addition, due to the acellularity of pertusis and lower levels of diphtheria, the adverse reactions associated with the vaccine are also avoided. This vaccine can be given as a booster vaccine for tetanus, and as prophylaxis for high risk wounds.

What is the difference between DTap and TDap Vaccines?

In comparison, both DTap and Tdap, contain killed or attenuated particles of diphtheria, tetanus and pertusis. Both of them contribute to the drastic fall in mortality and morbidity associated with these infections. Both pertusis particles are acellular; thus, having reduced incidence of side effects. But both acellular particles are supposed be of lessened efficacy. Where DTap is given for those under the age of 10 years, Tdap is given for those between 11 and 64 years. In DTap, there is almost synchronous activity to produce antibodies against all three organisms; Tdap has reduced activity towards both diphtheria and pertusis, and more activity for tetanus. Thus, adult vaccine can be equivalent to the tetanus toxoid, and can be used in the management of boosters for tetanus and prophylaxis in wound management. Adverse reaction profile is the same in both, but lesser in Tdap.

Both these vaccines are important, and DTap is for the young while TDap for the old. TDap is tetanus toxoid with some added advantage, but DTap shows equivalent activity for all organisms. However, there is more evidence to suggest the use of the vaccines is beneficial than not using them at all.