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.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib) Vaccine: This vaccine is given as a series of 3 doses to infants at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib) Vaccine: Infants receive this vaccine as a booster dose at 18 months of age after completing a 3 dose primary series of DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib.
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio (DTaP-IPV) Vaccine: This vaccine is given as a single dose to kindergarten-age children starting at age 4. This is a booster dose for children who were immunized against these diseases at a younger age.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine: This vaccine is given to all students in grade 9. This is a booster dose for children immunized against these diseases at a younger age.
Tetanus and Diphtheria (Td) Vaccine: Adults who were immunized against tetanus and diphtheria when they were younger should get a booster dose of this vaccine every 10 years.
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