Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine (DTaP) for adolescents and adults

The vaccine gives protection against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
Vaccine-preventable diseases

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To whom is the DTaP vaccine administered?

The vaccine is administered as a booster in the national vaccination programme to adolescents aged 14 to 15 and at the age of 25 years.

When a school-age child needs a booster following an accident, the use of the DTaP vaccine is recommended. 

Those born before 1993 are only entitled to a free DTaP vaccine if they are healthcare professionals. Under the Communicable Diseases Act (1227/2016), those working at a social and healthcare unit must be protected against whooping cough if they mainly care for children aged under 12 months. 

The vaccine can also be administered to other adults when they need to be protected against not only tetanus and diphtheria but also whooping cough. In this case, the person receiving the vaccination will pay for the vaccine.

Which vaccine is used and what does it contain?

The product used in the national vaccination programme is called diTekiBooster. It does not contain live pathogens.

  • The active substance contains toxoids of diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough bacteria. Toxoids are toxins produced by the bacteria which have been inactivated.
  • The adjuvants are aluminium compounds.
  • The excipients are salt and purified water.
  • The vaccine contains no preservatives.

Dosage and schedule

The vaccine dose is 0.5 ml. In the national vaccination programme, a single dose of the vaccine is administered at the age of 14 to 15 years, and a single dose at the age of 25 years.

A DTaP vaccine must be given every five years to those continuously working with children aged under 12 months in social and healthcare units.

What are the contraindications and precautions associated with the vaccine?

Everyone needs protection against tetanus. It is important not to miss this vaccine without a compelling reason. 

Postpone an ordinary DTaP booster if the recipient has a fever or a febrile infection. Sometimes a DTaP vaccination needs to be administered, for example to a patient with a deep, dirty wound, even if they did have a fever.

What are the benefits of the DTaP vaccine?

The vaccine boosts the protection against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough afforded by the 5-in-1 and 4-in-1 vaccines administered to children at the child health clinic.

The vaccine provides excellent protection against tetanus and diphtheria. 


People of all ages need protection against tetanus. Herd immunity created by vaccinated people around you will not protect you against tetanus as it is not an infection spread from person to person. The vaccine helps the system defend itself against the toxin secreted by the tetanus bacteria.


While the vaccine does not prevent the spread of diphtheria, it gives excellent protection against serious symptoms. The vaccine helps the system defend itself against the toxin secreted by the diphtheria bacteria.

Whooping cough

The whooping cough component is approx. 80% effective in optimal cases. The protection afforded by the vaccine declines in around five years. 

Thanks to the vaccination programme with a wide coverage, however, major whooping cough outbreaks no longer occur in Finland. Local outbreaks continue to crop up, however, and they may be life-threatening for young children who are unprotected or not fully protected. Older siblings can be protected from whooping cough with its annoying symptoms by vaccinating them. This will also help protect infants and young children indirectly.

What are the potential adverse effects of the DTaP vaccine?

Serious adverse effects, including an anaphylactic reaction, are rare.

The most common adverse effects are local symptoms at the injection site, nausea and a temperature. Other transient generalised symptoms may also occur, including aches and pains or stiffness in the muscles as well as headaches.

A rash, high temperature and sterile abscess at the injection site are rare.

Local and generalised symptoms are more common if the intervals between boosters are short. Local and generalised symptoms are not a contraindication for further vaccinations. Fever and pain medications may be used to treat the symptoms, including ibuprofen and naproxen.

History of the DTaP vaccine in the national vaccination programme

The vaccine was introduced to Finland's national vaccination programme in 2003, in which year it was administered to 6-year-olds. 

Following a programme reform in 2005, it was administered to children born before 1997 at the age of 11 to 13 years. Since 2011, DTaP has been administered at the age of 14 to 15 years to those born in 1997 and later. 

Those starting their military service have been given the DTaP vaccine since 2012. Since 2015, the DTaP vaccine has been offered to those starting their military service if more than 5 years have elapsed since their most recent DT or DTaP vaccination.

Since 2018, the vaccine has been administered to 25-year-olds.