Diphtheria vaccine

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Diphtheria vaccine
Vaccine description
Target disease Corynebacterium diphtheriae
Type Toxoid
Clinical data
MedlinePlus a607027
Routes of
Intramuscular injection
ATC code J07AF01
 N (what is this?)  (verify)

Diphtheria vaccine is a vaccine used against Corynebacterium diphtheriae, the agent that causes diphtheria.[1] It use has resulted in a more than 90% decrease in number of cases globally between 1980 and 2000.[2] Three initial doses are recommended after which it is about 95% effective.[2] It is effective for about 10 years at which time a booster dose is needed.[2] Immunization may start at six weeks of age with further doses given every four weeks.[2]

The diphtheria vaccine is very safe.[2] Significant side effects are rare.[2] Pain may occur at the injection site.[2] A bump may form at the site of injection that lasts a few weeks.[3] The vaccine is safe in both pregnancy and among those who have a poor immune function.[3]

Several combination vaccines are used to prevent diphtheria.[4] This includes with tetanus toxoid (known as dT or DT vaccine) and with tetanus and pertussis vaccine known as DPT vaccine.[2] The World Health Organization has recommended it use since 1974.[2] About 84% of the world population is vaccinated.[5] It is given as a intramuscular injection.[2] The vaccine needs to be kept cold but not frozen.[3]

It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medication needed in a basic health system.[6]


  1. ^ "MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Diphtheria immunization (vaccine)". Retrieved 2009-03-07. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Diphtheria vaccine" (PDF). Wkly Epidemiol Rec 81 (3): 24–32. Jan 20, 2006. PMID 16671240. 
  3. ^ a b c Atkinson, William (May 2012). Diphtheria Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (12 ed.). Public Health Foundation. pp. 215–230. ISBN 9780983263135. 
  4. ^ "Diphtheria Vaccination". Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 8 November 2011.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. ^ "Diphtheria". who.int. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "WHO Model List of EssentialMedicines" (PDF). World Health Organization. October 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.