Tetanus

About the vaccine

Did you know?

About 1 in 5 people who get tetanus will die.

The tetanus vaccine is the best way to protect against tetanus (lockjaw), which is a serious and sometimes fatal disease.  Tetanus vaccines are recommended throughout your life.

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

Who should get the vaccine? 

The tetanus 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 tetanus 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. 

If you have a serious cut or wound, including punctures, bites, burns or scrapes, it is recommended that you see your health care provider immediately for treatment. This is especially important if the wound is dirty. 

About the disease

  • Tetanus, (lockjaw), is a disease of the nervous system caused by bacteria mostly found in soil
  • Tetanus usually enters the body through a cut or scrape or any break in the skin
  • The bacteria produce a poison that can cause painful tightening of muscles all over the body. Tetanus can be very serious if the breathing muscles are affected
  • About 1 in 5 people who get tetanus will die

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

Photos courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.