Tetanus vaccine

Information about tetanus vaccines, who it is recommended for, how and where to get vaccinated. If you're eligible, you can get the tetanus vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program.

Tetanus is a serious disease that causes severe muscle spasms, especially in the neck and jaw – this is called lockjaw.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from tetanus.

Who should get vaccinated against tetanus

Anyone who wants to protect themselves against tetanus can talk to their vaccination provider getting vaccinated.

The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends tetanus vaccination for specific groups including:

  • routine vaccination in infants, children and adolescents
  • routine booster vaccination in adults, including travellers to countries where health services are difficult to access
  • people who have a tetanus-prone wound
  • vaccination of people who have missed doses of tetanus-containing vaccine.

Tetanus combination vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for children aged 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months and 4 years, and adolescents aged 12-13 years through school-based vaccination programs.

Eligible people under 20 years old and refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age can get a free catch-up vaccination. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood and it is recommended to receive the vaccine.

Tetanus vaccines should not be given to people who have had:

  • anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any tetanus containing vaccine
  • anaphylaxis after any component of a tetanus containing vaccine.

Read more about getting vaccinated.

How to get vaccinated against tetanus

Tetanus vaccines only come as a combination vaccine that also protects against other diseases such as diphtheria and whooping cough.

Tetanus vaccines include:

*Indicates National Immunisation Program vaccine.

Your vaccination provider will tell you which vaccine they will give you.

Find product information and consumer medicine information for each available vaccine on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website.

Where to get vaccinated

You can get your vaccine from a range of vaccination providers. Find out where and more about your vaccination visit at getting vaccinated.

Possible side effects of tetanus vaccination

You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most reactions are mild and last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.

Common side effects of tetanus vaccines include:

  • pain, redness and swelling at injection site
  • occasionally an injection-site lump (may last many weeks - no treatment needed)
  • mild fever
  • grizzly, unsettled, unhappy and sleepy (baby).

Talk to your vaccination provider about possible side effects of tetanus vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.

The Consumer Medicine Information available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website lists the ingredients and side effects of each vaccine.

Learn more about the possible side effects of vaccination.

Date last updated:

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