Tetanus Shot Side Effects

vaccination-1215279_1920A tetanus shot is a vaccine which is used for tetanus. It is a condition followed by the effects of the Clostridium tetani bacteria toxins. The tetanus toxoid is a vaccine which is supposed to provide an active protection from the tetanus toxin. This condition can be life-threatening with a muscle spasm which can affect the jaw and the muscles all over the body. It locks the muscles, preventing the person to move or open their mouth. Our bodies are unable to create antibodies for tetanus, so the vaccine protects us for about 10 years, after which the boost vaccine is needed. The vaccine only protects if the infection hasn’t developed yet, but if you’re suspicious of the active infection, a doctor may administer immune globulin which stops the infection from happening. The primary vaccine is given by the age of 7 or later, and boost doses are usually given after 10 years.

Side Effects

The most common side effects due to a tetanus toxoid vaccine are mild ones and are not dangerous and life-threatening. They usually subside, but there is a certain side effect on which you can influence in a way it can reduce the level of occurrence.


A most common side effect which is a minor one is a pain or an uncomfortable sensation around the vaccine area injection. It can be tender, itchy or even swell. This can be also an allergic reaction to a vaccine ingredient. Most symptoms like this will pass over time without any treatment. Some of them might need a certain painkiller to ease the pain.


Some people may experience a different response to the vaccine application. The incidence of the fever side effect is about one in a hundred people receiving a tetanus shot. If this occurs, the doctor may opt for a certain antipyretic drug which will decrease the fever.

Allergic Reaction

 Some people can experience hypersensitivity to vaccine ingredients. This can be a local reaction or a general reaction called anaphylactic reaction. Arthus reaction is a local reaction which starts 2 to 8 hours after the injection. It starts with redness and itchiness and it usually occurs after the boost injections after the immune system has developed antibodies for the vaccine ingredients. An anaphylactic reaction starts with swelling of the tongue, mouth, dyspnea or difficulty in breathing, hypotension, cold sweating, tachycardia, and fear of death. A person can fall into a shock where it can lose conscious.


It is a side effect which often indicates that the patient is having some accompanied conditions which lead to vaccine side effect. Diarrhea can last up to a few days, where it should not be with blood tinge, should not be a watery consistency and it should not be excessive in volume.


Some people have reported headaches side effects of tetanus shots. They appear after approximately two weeks after the shot. The intensity of the headaches is not strong and the mild pain subsides after a few days. If you’re having heavy headaches or have a low tolerance for pain, you can try with some over-the-counter medications to ease the pain.

Respiratory Tract Side Effects

Respiratory infections can result in a sore throat or stuffed nose or even pneumonia. Some can experience abdominal pain also, which can be accompanied with joint pain. Pneumonia is a more severe side effect which can develop in those who have a weaker immune system or are prone to respiratory infections. It can start with a cough which is, at first, unproductive and ends up in the heavy discharge which has a greenish color to it and has an odor. It can be accompanied with chest pain, fatigue, and sharp pain when coughing. If you have decreased function of the immune system or is sensitive to respiratory infections in any way, you should contact your doctor for appropriate therapy prescription.

Hematuria And Bloody Stools

If you notice a blood in your stool or a blood inside the urine called hematuria, it could be due to intestine inflammation or kidney damage. It is important to diagnose the exact cause of this occurrence since it can have severe consequences. You should consult with your doctor as soon as possible.

When To See A Doctor

If you experience fever over 103 degrees of Fahrenheit or 39,4 degrees of Celsius, you should contact your doctor. There are other severe symptoms such as heavy fatigue, confusion, prolonged headaches, blister occurrence on the application area, swelling of the armpit glands. They can be serious if left undiagnosed since they can indicate severe conditions. It is better to check it out rather than have fatal consequences.


There are not many contraindications but are a few which are absolute. If a person has had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients of the vaccine (seizure, anaphylaxis, coma), those are the reasons why one should not receive the vaccine. It is mostly the reaction which happens during some of the boost doses which are indicated 10 years after the primary vaccine. Other contraindications may be illnesses which can cause Gillian-Barre syndrome if a person receives a vaccine before the period of six weeks after the recovery from another disease. You will state the anamnesis and past illnesses before the vaccine application to a doctor.