You’ll often find that people get the TDaP vaccine mixed up with the DTaP vaccine. It’s an easy mistake to make seeing as both of them are exactly identical save for the relocation of the T. The DTaP vaccine is a vaccine that protects children who are below the age of 7 from three devastating diseases. These diseases are whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. You’ll also find whooping cough referred to as pertussis by some physicians.
TDaP, on the other hand, is designed to protect adolescents above the age of 11 as well as adults between the age of 19 and 64. The TDaP vaccine has a lower dose of pertussis and diphtheria. As you can see, both vaccines are nearly identical. They treat the same diseases. The only difference between the two is the target age as well as the dosage used. Just pretend that the T stands for a teenager so you don’t confuse the two vaccines with each other.
Let us start by saying that whole-cell vaccines are both effective and safe. Still, these vaccines are cruder than other types. The outer shell of the pertussis bacteria is made out of polysaccharides and fats. They are endotoxin, which means that they can lead to generalized and full-body inflammation. Due to this, some children who were vaccinated with the older DTP vaccine would develop fevers and even convulsions in some cases. In contrast, the DTaP vaccine only holds the antigenic parts of these cells as opposed to the entire specimen.
Antigens are proteins that your immune system uses as a frame of reference so that they can defend your body against a specific type of disease. They’re like the scent of an escaped convict that bloodhounds use to track them down to their safehouse. Using the antigenic compounds exclusively means that the DTaP vaccine can protect children from pertussis without causing high fevers and other side effects that might worry parents.