Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine (Boostrix)

Tetanus (lockjaw)

Tetanus is a disease that can enter the body through a wound or cut. It is not transmitted from person to person. Tetanus lives in soil and children who have a
cut or wound that has exposure to dirt can become infected. These types of wounds can be caused by injuries sustained when mountain biking, skateboarding or other injuries when dirt may get into the wound.

Tetanus bacteria causes weakness, stiffness, cramps and difficulty chewing and swallowing food. These symptoms can become worse and result in paralysis of the breathing muscles and can cause death for around 1 in 10 cases.

Whooping cough (pertussis)

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease which is spread by coughing and sneezing. Affected people may have spasms of severe coughing which can cause difficulty breathing and vomiting. The symptoms may last up to 3 months. Infants under 12 months are at high risk of needing hospitalisation if they have whooping cough. In adults whooping cough may cause violent coughing which can lead to rib fractures, lung collapse or pneumonia.


Diphtheria is a rare but serious infectious disease which causes infection of the throat and nose. This may lead to swelling of the throat with difficulty swallowing or breathing. Complications can involve heart or kidney damage.

Funded for any of the following criteria:

  • A single dose for pregnant women in the second or third trimester of each pregnancy; or
  • A single dose for parents or primary caregivers of infants admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Specialist Care Baby Unit for more than 3 days, who had not been exposed to maternal vaccination at least 14 days prior to birth; or
  • An additional four doses (as appropriate) are funded for (re-)immunisation for patients post haematopoietic stem cell transplantation or chemotherapy; pre or post splenectomy; pre- or post solid organ transplant, renal dialysis and other severely immunosuppressive regimens; or
  • A single dose for vaccination of patients aged from 65 years old; or
  • A single dose for vaccination of patients aged from 45 years old who have not had 4 previous tetanus doses; or
  • For vaccination of previously unimmunised or partially immunised patients; or 
  • For revaccination following immunosuppression; or
  • For boosting of patients with tetanus-prone wounds.