About the vaccine

Did you know?

About 1 in 10 people who get diphtheria will die.

The diphtheria vaccine is the best way to protect against diphtheria, which is a serious and sometimes fatal disease.  

Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get diphtheria.

Who should get the vaccine? 

The diphtheria vaccine is provided free in BC. It is combined with other vaccines so a person can receive protection from several diseases with one shot.  

Several different vaccines are used to prevent diphtheria among infants, children, adolescents and adults:

*Click on the link for more information about the vaccine, including the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine.

Vaccines are available from public health units, doctors' offices and pharmacies (for people 5 years of age and older). Services vary across BC. 

About the disease

  • Diphtheria is a serious infection of the nose and throat caused by diphtheria bacteria
  • The bacteria are spread through the air by people sneezing or coughing or by direct skin-to-skin contact
  • The disease can result in very severe breathing problem, heart failure and paralysis
  • About 1 in 10 people who get diphtheria may die

Diphtheria is now rare in British Columbia because of routine childhood immunization programs. 

Photo courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. More vaccine preventable disease images