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5 Facts About Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio (Td/IPV) Vaccine

Heard about this vaccine but not sure what it's all about? Here's some useful information
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1. When will I be offered this vaccine??
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Depending on your age, this vaccine may be offered in school or by your GP practice.

All Year 9 pupils are offered the 3-in-1 teenage booster vaccination which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and polio at school. With one quick injection in the upper arm, you will be protected against all of these.

For more information about the vaccines offered in secondary schools, have a look at Immunisation in secondary schools.

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2. Why do I need the vaccination?
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Tetanus, diphtheria and polio are rarely found in the UK due to our successful immunisation programme. We have to keep levels of vaccination high to make sure diseases don’t return. These diseases do exist in other parts of the world where vaccinations aren’t easily accessible.

You should have had your first immunisations against these diseases before you started school.  It’s important to have another dose or ‘top-up’ dose to increase your immunity levels and keep you protected, now and into adulthood.

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3. What's tetanus?
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Tetanus is a rare but serious infection caused by a bacterium that is found in the soil or manure.  It enters the body through a dirty cut, scratch, burn, rusty nail or animal bite injury.

Tetanus affects the nervous system causing severe muscle spasm, convulsions, difficulty breathing and can be fatal.  Tetanus is a disease that can’t be passed from person to person.

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4. What's diphtheria?
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Diphtheria is caused by a highly contagious and potentially fatal bacteria that spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Diphtheria causes a thick grey-white coating at the back of the throat, difficulty breathing and swallowing, as well as a high temperature and pus-filled blisters on the skin. This is a very rare illness in the UK because of our strong immunisation programme.

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5. What's polio?
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Polio, a highly contagious virus that attacks the brain, nervous system and spinal cord, was very common in the past – affecting children worldwide, and causing paralysis and death.

Our immunisation programme has helped to get rid of polio in this country and in most countries across the world.  But it will return if we stop vaccinating!

how to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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