dTap Vaccine Side Effects and Reactions


DTaP is the vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. It is administered to children under the age of seven. Generally, children will receive this vaccination for the first time at the age of two months. Children will then receive four additional vaccinations through the age of six. Older children and adults may also receive booster vaccinations that contain less of the virus to maintain the immunity that they should have already built. 

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dTap Side Effects

Most of the side effects from the DTaP vaccinations are on the milder side. However, there can be some complications that can be more severe. The more minor side effects include the following:

  • Like any vaccination, patients can experience soreness and redness at the site of the injection. This is a common side effect and will be likely to happen in infants, especially those who have never received a vaccination before. 
  • Sometimes, children will develop a mild fever several days after the vaccination that can be accompanied by vomiting. Eventually, this side effect will pass and it is not a long-term complication.
  • It is not uncommon for children to be agitated and fussy for several days after receiving their vaccination. However, more severe screaming and crying is a sign that there is a more significant side effect.

Although they are rare, there are numerous more serious side effects that can occur from the DTaP vaccination.  There is no documentation of the statistics associated with severe side effects from DTaP, but they do not occur very often. However, when there are serious complications from the DTaP vaccine, they can be dangerous. 

Severe Allergic Reactions

When a patient has an allergy to one or more of the ingredients in the vaccine, there is the potential for a severe adverse reaction. Vaccinations will not only include live or attenuated virus, but they will also have other stabilizers and fillers as ingredients to preserve the vaccine and maintain its effectiveness. For example, some vaccinations include egg products to act as a stabilizer. Some people may have allergies to eggs but not know it at the time of the vaccine. 

A severe allergic reaction can cause swelling and difficulty breathing. This is where one needs immediate medical attention when they are experiencing this side effect. This is generally the precursor for the extremely rare instances in which the reaction to the DTaP vaccine may be fatal, and if you do not seek out medical attention when experiencing these symptoms, your condition can rapidly worsen. 

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One of the issues with administering the DTaP vaccine is that children are very young when they receive their first dose. While people who have allergies should avoid receiving the vaccine, physicians may not know when a child is only two months old that they have a possible allergic reaction from the injection. It is only after the child experiences side effects that the physician learns that there is an allergy. While this may not be a reason to forgo the immunization, it is still an attendant risk to a vaccine that is given at such a young age. Certainly, those at risk of an allergic reaction should forgo the vaccination. 


Another significant side effect is when there is severe swelling in the arm. When it is a reaction to the contents of the vaccine, it can be accompanied by a high fever. Like any vaccination injected into the arm, there is also a risk that the patient can lose some range of motion in the arm it is administered improperly. A disability known as SIRVA can result from the injection being given in the wrong place in the shoulder. While most cases of SIRVA result from flu shots, it is also a possibility in DTaP vaccinations. 

In the case of children, a small number of them may be at risk of a seizure after a vaccination. While most of these seizures are isolated incidents, some may be severe and can be dangerous. A majority of patients will fully recover from their seizures, although a small minority will suffer lasting damage.  There is also a very small probability of some other central nervous system issue or a coma. Some children may cry uncontrollably for several days after the vaccine which is also a more significant side effect.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Another possible side effect of the DTaP vaccination is Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This happens when the body’s immune system turns its fire on the nervous system. This generally happens in the wake of an infection and is a rare side effect when a vaccination with live or attenuated virus is introduced into the body. This disease results in pain and muscle weakness. In extreme cases, it can impact the patient’s ability to breathe. Many cases are treatable and the effects can be reversed through therapy and medications, but some cases of GBS result in lasting damage. 

The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

As always, if you or a loved one has suffered injury from a vaccination, you should contact a vaccine injury lawyer. There is a specialized system that can result in you receiving financial compensation without having to go through a full trial. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program allows you to file a claim for a recognized injury if you have suffered harm from a vaccine that is given to children. Compensation is given to adults as well so long as children are also given the vaccine. 

You only have 3 years to file a claim.

It's important that you start the process as soon as possible.
See If You Have a Case

The VICP has a streamlined process where most cases are decided without the need for a hearing. If the injury is recognized and it appears on the vaccine injury table, the government settles many I the cases that are filed. You will always be entitled to a hearing if your claim is denied or if the settlement amount in inadequate. The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates handle many cases in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Contact them today if you or a loved one has been injured from a vaccine.


You Only Have Three Years To File Your Claim

The first step in helping yourself or a loved one after a serious vaccine related injury is to contact us for a free review of your case.

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