Boostrix is a brand-name booster vaccine. It’s FDA-approved to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) in adults of any age, as well as in children ages 10 years and older. Boostrix is known as a Tdap vaccine.

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are diseases caused by infection with different bacteria. You can get tetanus through severe or dirty cuts, wounds, or burns. Diphtheria and pertussis spread from person to person through coughs and sneezes. In some cases, the three diseases can be fatal.

Booster vaccine

A booster vaccine is one that’s used to “boost” the effects of an earlier vaccine a person has been given.

In the United States and many other developed countries, children up to the age of 6 years are typically given five doses of vaccines to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. However, the effectiveness of this first round of vaccines wears off over time. As a result, you’ll need booster vaccines, such as Boostrix, to help protect you from these diseases.

Boostrix isn’t a live vaccine. Boostrix is a non-live (inactive) vaccine. To learn more, see the “Is Boostrix a live vaccine?” section below.

Boostrix ingredients and form

Boostrix contains tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine.

Boostrix comes as a suspension (a liquid mixture). The vaccine comes in a 0.5-milliliter (mL) single-dose vial and a 0.5-mL single-dose prefilled syringe. A healthcare provider will give you Boostrix as an intramuscular injection in your upper arm. (“Intramuscular” means that the injection is given in a muscle.)

Effectiveness

For information on the effectiveness of Boostrix, see the “Boostrix uses” section below.

Boostrix is available only as a brand-name vaccine. It’s not currently available in generic form.

A generic vaccine is an exact copy of the active ingredient in a brand-name vaccine. Generic vaccines usually cost less than brand-name vaccines.

Boostrix helps prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, so it’s known as a Tdap vaccine. Another brand-name Tdap vaccine is also available: Adacel. (For more about Adacel, see the “Boostrix vs. Adacel” section below.)

Boostrix is approved for use in adults of any age, as well as children ages 10 years and older.

Boostrix is a vaccine that’s used to help prevent the diseases tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), so it’s called a Tdap vaccine. There are two brands of Tdap vaccine available: Boostrix and Adacel.

Like Boostrix, Adacel is approved for use in children ages 10 years and older. Adacel is also approved for use in adults ages 64 years and younger. This means that older adults can receive Boostrix but not Adacel.

Boostrix isn’t known to have harmful effects when you get the vaccine during pregnancy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women get a Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix.

Tdap vaccine and pregnancy

The CDC advises you get a Tdap vaccine in weeks 27 to 36 of each pregnancy you have. This vaccine helps protect your baby from contracting pertussis (whooping cough) in the first weeks after birth.

Newborns who get pertussis have a high risk for needing hospital treatment. And in some cases, pertussis in newborns can lead to death. But newborns can’t get their first vaccine against this disease until they’re age 2 months.

Having a Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, in the last trimester (months 7 to 9) of your pregnancy causes your body to make a lot of antibodies against pertussis. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.) During your pregnancy, the antibodies pass to your baby, helping protect them from pertussis after they’re born.

According to the CDC, studies have shown that getting the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy helps prevent pertussis in more than 75% of babies younger than 2 months old. For babies who do get the disease, 90% are protected from getting pertussis severe enough to require hospital treatment.

If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the best time to have Boostrix or a different Tdap vaccine.

Pregnancy exposure registry

Boostrix has a pregnancy exposure registry. Pregnancy registry information is important in helping determine the safety of drugs and vaccines during pregnancy. The Boostrix pregnancy exposure registry collects data about both the health of pregnant women who receive Boostrix and the health of babies born to these women.

Based on information collected since 2005, this registry hasn’t found any harmful effects linked to Boostrix use during pregnancy.

If you get the Boostrix vaccine while pregnant, talk with your doctor about enrolling in the pregnancy exposure registry.

Boostrix and birth control

Boostrix is safe to take during pregnancy. Therefore, there’s no reason for your birth control needs to change before or after you have Boostrix.

For more information about taking Boostrix during pregnancy, see the “Boostrix and pregnancy” section above.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Boostrix.

Is Boostrix a live vaccine?

No, Boostrix is a non-live (inactive) vaccine. It contains inactive substances produced by the bacteria that cause tetanus and diphtheria. Boostrix also contains fragments of the bacteria that cause pertussis (whooping cough). None of these substances or bacterial fragments can cause disease.

Live vaccines contain live, but weakened forms of bacteria or viruses. Examples include the yellow fever vaccine and the shingles vaccine. Live vaccines shouldn’t cause infections in people whose immune systems work well. But there’s a risk that live vaccines could cause infections in people with weakened immune systems. These people shouldn’t have live vaccines, but they may be able to have non-live vaccines.

If you have questions about whether you can receive Boostrix, talk with your doctor.

Can I get Boostrix if I have a latex or egg allergy?

Yes, you can likely get Boostrix with either of these allergies.

If you have a latex allergy, you can use one of the two forms available of Boostrix.

Boostrix comes in a single-dose vial or a single-dose prefilled syringe. The tip cap of the prefilled syringe contains latex. So this form of Boostrix isn’t suitable for you if you have a severe latex allergy. But the vial stopper doesn’t contain latex, so if you have a latex allergy, you can have this form of the vaccine.

Before getting Boostrix, be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to latex. They can make sure they give you the vial form of the vaccine, and not to use latex gloves.

If you have an egg allergy, you should have no problem getting either form of the Boostrix vaccine. Boostrix isn’t produced using eggs and doesn’t contain any form of egg protein. So it’s safe to get the Boostrix vaccine if you have an egg allergy.

If you have any questions about Boostrix and any allergies, talk with your doctor.

Does Boostrix cause autism?

No. Boostrix doesn’t cause autism either in children who get the vaccine or in children born to women who get the vaccine during pregnancy.

The idea that vaccines could cause autism has become fairly widespread in recent years. This is despite the fact that there is no evidence of a link. In fact, over decades of research, no vaccines have ever been found to cause autism.

This is also the case for Boostrix.

For example, a 2018 study examined the rate of autism in 81,993 children. Researchers looked at the rate of autism spectrum disorder in children whose mothers had received a Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, during their pregnancy. The researchers compared this with the rate of autism in children whose mothers didn’t receive this vaccine during pregnancy. No significant difference in the rates of autism was found between the two groups.

Are Boostrix and the Tdap the same?

Boostrix is a brand-name Tdap vaccine. It’s used to prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

However, not all Tdap vaccines are Boostrix. Adacel is the other brand-name Tdap vaccine available.

How long does Boostrix last?

The immunity (protection) that Boostrix produces lasts about 10 years. However, immunity to pertussis tends to lessen over this time.

According to the CDC, studies have shown that getting a vaccine such as Boostrix will typically protect:

  • 95% of people against diphtheria for about 10 years
  • almost 100% of people against tetanus for about 10 years
  • 70% of people against pertussis for the first year after vaccination
  • 30% to 40% of people against pertussis 4 years after vaccination

If you have questions about how often you’ll need to get Boostrix or other vaccines, talk with your doctor.

Is Boostrix a tetanus shot?

Yes. Boostrix is a tetanus shot, but it also protects against diphtheria and pertussis.

If you have a severe or dirty cut, wound, or burn and you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the last 5 years, you may get Boostrix as a tetanus shot. Or you may get the Td vaccine (Tenivac, TdVax), which prevents tetanus and diphtheria but not pertussis.

If you need a tetanus shot, talk with your doctor about which vaccine is right for you.

You may wonder how Boostrix compares with other vaccines that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Boostrix and Tenivac are alike and different.

Ingredients

Boostrix contains tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine.

Tenivac contains tetanus toxoid and diphtheria toxoid.

Uses

Boostrix is approved to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) in adults as well as children 10 years and older. It’s known as a Tdap vaccine.

Tenivac is approved to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria in adults as well as children ages 7 years and older. It’s known as a Td vaccine.

Your doctor will advise you on how often you should receive Boostrix or Tenivac. But they’ll likely follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for adults and children. For details on Boostrix, see the “CDC recommendations” section below.

Drug forms and administration

Boostrix and Tenivac both come as a suspension (a liquid mixture) in a single-dose vial and a single-dose prefilled syringe.

These vaccines are given by a healthcare provider as intramuscular injections in your upper arm. (“Intramuscular” means that the injection is given in a muscle.)

Side effects and risks

Boostrix and Tenivac both contain tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, while Boostrix also contains fragments of pertussis bacteria. Therefore, these vaccines can cause very similar side effects, but some different ones as well. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with each vaccine, or with both Boostrix and Tenivac (when taken individually).

Serious side effects

An example of a serious side effect that can occur with both Boostrix and Tenivac (when taken individually) is:

Effectiveness

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Boostrix and Tenivac for different uses, but both vaccines are used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria.

The use of Boostrix and the Td vaccine in preventing tetanus and diphtheria has been directly compared in a clinical study. Td vaccine is a generic form of Tenivac.

The study involved children ages 10 to 18 years. They had already had the recommended primary series of DTaP vaccines* against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis in early childhood. The children received either Boostrix or the Td vaccine.

After 1 month, researchers looked at the levels of antibodies against tetanus and diphtheria in the children’s blood. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.) Boostrix was found to be similarly effective to the Td vaccine.

After vaccination with Boostrix or the Td vaccine, the percentage of children with protective levels of antibodies against:

  • tetanus increased from 97.7% to 100% in those given Boostrix
  • tetanus increased from 96.8% to 100% in those given the Td vaccine
  • diphtheria increased from 85.8% to 99.9% in those given Boostrix
  • diphtheria increased from 84.8% to 99.9% in those given the Td vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers Boostrix and Tenivac to be similarly effective for preventing tetanus and diphtheria. It recommends that either vaccine can be used for people who need a Td vaccine.

* Children younger than age 7 years typically receive the DTaP vaccine, which contains a full dose of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines. A Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, contains a full dose of the tetanus vaccine and reduced doses of the diphtheria and pertussis vaccines.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Boostrix and Tenivac syringes and vials generally cost about the same. The actual price you’ll pay for either vaccine depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Boostrix and Tenivac are both brand-name vaccines. There are currently no generic forms of either vaccine. Brand-name vaccines usually cost more than generics.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves vaccines such as Boostrix to prevent certain conditions.

Boostrix for preventing tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis

Boostrix is FDA-approved to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) in adults as well as children ages 10 and older.

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis explained

Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are diseases caused by infection with different types of bacteria. In some cases, the three diseases can each be fatal.

  • Tetanus. Tetanus is sometimes called lockjaw. It’s caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. This bacterium produces a substance that causes muscle spasms and stiffness, and can lead to trouble swallowing or breathing. You can get tetanus through severe or dirty cuts, wounds, or burns.
  • Diphtheria. Diphtheria is caused by a bacterium called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It affects the nose and throat, causing a thick, gray coating on the throat and tonsils. Diphtheria can also cause cold-like symptoms and trouble breathing. In some cases, the bacterium produces a substance that can cause heart failure and nerve damage. Diphtheria spreads from person to person through coughs and sneezes.
  • Pertussis. Pertussis is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. With this disease you have a violent, hacking cough that can lead to trouble breathing. Pertussis spreads from person to person through coughs and sneezes.

Why Boostrix is given

In the United States and many other developed countries, children up to the age of 6 years are typically given five doses of vaccines to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

However, the effectiveness of this first round of vaccines wears off over time. As a result, you’ll need booster vaccines to help protect you from these diseases.

Boostrix is a booster vaccine that’s given to produce ongoing immunity (protection) from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Boostrix is also known as a Tdap vaccine.

Effectiveness of Boostrix

The effectiveness of Boostrix for boosting protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis was assessed in a clinical study of children ages 10 to 18 years. The children had already had the recommended primary series of DTaP vaccines* for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis in early childhood.

At the start of the study, researchers measured the levels of antibodies against these diseases in the children’s blood. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.) The children were then given a dose of Boostrix. One month later, the researchers looked at the antibody levels again.

* Children younger than age 7 years typically receive the DTaP vaccine, which contains a full dose of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines. A Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, contains a full dose of the tetanus vaccine and reduced doses of the diphtheria and pertussis vaccines.

Diphtheria and tetanus antibodies

The children’s levels of diphtheria and tetanus antibodies were compared with those of children given a different booster vaccine called the Td vaccine. The Td vaccine is used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria only. Boostrix was found to be similarly effective to the Td vaccine for producing diphtheria and tetanus antibodies.

After vaccination, the percentage of children with protective levels of antibodies against:

  • tetanus increased from 97.7% to 100% in those given Boostrix
  • tetanus increased from 96.8% to 100% in those given the Td vaccine
  • diphtheria increased from 85.8% to 99.9% in those given Boostrix
  • diphtheria increased from 84.8% to 99.9% in those given the Td vaccine

Pertussis antibodies

The Boostrix vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce three different types of antibodies against pertussis. These antibodies are called anti-PT (pertussis toxin), anti-FHA (filamentous hemagglutinin), and anti-PRN (pertactin). The level of these antibodies that’s needed to protect against pertussis isn’t known.

However, Boostrix increased the levels of all these antibodies in most children. This is called a booster response.

In the study, Boostrix produced a booster response for:

  • anti-PT in 84.5% of children
  • anti-FHA in 95.1% of children
  • anti-PRN in 95.4% of children

The children’s pertussis antibody levels were compared with those produced in children who were given Infanrix. This is a DTaP vaccine that’s used to help prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis in young children.

The average pertussis antibody levels in children given Boostrix were similar to those in children given Infanrix at ages 3, 4, and 5 months.

Boostrix and children

Boostrix is FDA-approved for use in children ages 10 years and older. Children are typically given a dose of Boostrix at age 11 or 12 years.

For information on the effectiveness of Boostrix in children, see the “Effectiveness of Boostrix” section above.

You should get the Boostrix vaccine according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions.

A healthcare provider will give you or your child Boostrix as an intramuscular injection (an injection given in a muscle). The recommended injection site is the upper arm.

CDC recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides recommendations on which vaccines you should get throughout your life. Adult and child immunization schedules from the CDC recommend Tdap vaccination, such as Boostrix, for the following groups of people:

  • children ages 11 or 12 years
  • adults who have never been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis
  • pregnant women (Tdap vaccination is recommended during every pregnancy to help protect newborns from pertussis.)

The CDC recommends that adults get a booster dose of the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine every 10 years. It also advises that adults who have a severe or dirty cut, wound, or burn get a tetanus booster if they haven’t had one in the last 5 years.

Both these boosters can be given with a Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, or with a Td vaccine. (A Td vaccine helps prevent tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis.)

When to get the vaccine

Your doctor will advise you on how often you should have Boostrix. But they’ll likely follow the recommendations from the CDC, which are described above.

Boostrix can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur after taking Boostrix. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Boostrix, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of vaccines it has approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Boostrix, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Boostrix can include:*

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Boostrix. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or visit the Boostrix prescribing information.
† For more information, see the “Side effect details” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Boostrix aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects, explained in more detail below in “Side effect details,” include:

Side effects in children

Boostrix is approved for use in children ages 10 years and older. In clinical studies, side effects in this age group were similar to side effects in adults, as described above and below. However, mild side effects were more common in children ages 10 to 18 years than in adults. Side effects that were more common in this age group included:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal (belly) pain

In addition, injection site reactions such as pain, redness, and swelling were more common in children ages 10 to 12 years than in older age groups. See the section below called “Injection site reactions” for more information about this.

And to learn more about the frequency of side effects in children, see “Side effect details” right below.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Boostrix. It’s not known how often this happens.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Boostrix. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Injection site reactions

Boostrix may cause a reaction in the spot on the arm where it’s injected. Injection site reactions are the most common side effects associated with this vaccine. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, or pain. Some people have some swelling of the whole arm.

In clinical studies, the following injection site reactions occurred in children and adults:

  • Pain was reported in 21.5% to 75.3% of people who received Boostrix, compared with 27.7% to 71.7% of people who received a Td vaccine. (The Td vaccine helps prevent tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis.)
  • Redness was reported in 10.8% to 22.5% of people who received Boostrix, compared with 12.6% to 19.8% of people who received a Td vaccine.
  • Swelling was reported in 7.5% to 21.1% of people who received Boostrix, compared with 11.7% to 20.1% of people who received a Td vaccine.

Injection site reactions from Boostrix are more common in children ages 10 to 12 years. In a clinical study, children ages 10 to 12 years received Boostrix after completing the primary series of five doses of Infanrix. (Infanrix is a vaccine used to help prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis in young children.) Injection site reactions occurred in the following percentages of these children after they received Boostrix:

  • pain: 62.2%
  • redness: 47.7%
  • swelling: 38.9%

Injection site reactions from the Boostrix vaccine should typically get better in a few days. You can ease any soreness by applying an ice pack. But if you have a very severe reaction or your arm is so sore and swollen that it stops you from doing your usual activities, see your doctor.

Fatigue

A lack of energy called fatigue can occur after receiving the Boostrix vaccine.

In clinical studies, fatigue was reported in 12.5% to 37% of people who received Boostrix. By comparison, fatigue was reported in 14.8% to 36.7% of people who received a Td vaccine.

If you have fatigue after getting the Boostrix vaccine, it should typically improve in a few days.

Headache

Headache is a possible side effect of the Boostrix vaccine.

In clinical studies, headache was reported in 11.5% to 43.1% of people who received Boostrix. By comparison, headache was reported in 11.7% to 41.5% of people who received a Td vaccine.

If you have a headache after getting the Boostrix vaccine, it should typically ease within a few days. But if it’s bothersome, ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable pain reliever.

The following information describes the dosage that’s commonly used or recommended. Your doctor will determine the best dosage and best time for you to receive Boostrix.

Drug forms

Boostrix comes as a suspension (a liquid mixture). The vaccine comes in a 0.5-milliliter (mL) single-dose vial and a 0.5-mL single-dose prefilled syringe.

A healthcare provider will give you Boostrix as an intramuscular injection in your upper arm. (“Intramuscular” means that the injection is given in a muscle.)

Dosage for preventing tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis

The dose of Boostrix for helping prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis is 0.5 mL, given as a single injection.

Your doctor will advise you on how often you should have Boostrix. But they’ll likely follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For details, see the “CDC recommendations” section above.

Pediatric dosage

Boostrix is approved for use in children ages 10 years and older. But children shouldn’t have Boostrix until at least 5 years after they’ve completed the recommended childhood course of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines (DTaP).* This means children will likely be given Boostrix at age 11 or 12 years.

The recommended dosage of Boostrix for children is the same as for adults, as described above.

* Children younger than age 7 years typically receive the DTaP vaccine, which contains a full dose of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines. A Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, contains a full dose of the tetanus vaccine and reduced doses of the diphtheria and pertussis vaccines.

What if I miss a dose?

Boostrix is meant to be given as a single dose. If you miss an appointment to have this vaccine, call your doctor’s office to reschedule.

Boostrix can interact with some medications.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a vaccine works. Other interactions can increase the number of side effects or make them more severe.

Boostrix and medications

Below are some of the medications that can interact with Boostrix. This section doesn’t discuss all drugs that may interact with Boostrix.

Before getting Boostrix, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Boostrix and immunosuppressants

Immunosuppressants are drugs that suppress (reduce) the activity of your immune system. Your immune system normally helps protect you from infection and disease.

Boostrix works by stimulating your immune system to make antibodies that protect you from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.) If you’re taking an immunosuppressant when you get Boostrix, your immune system may not work as well to make the antibodies. So Boostrix may be less effective in helping prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

Conditions that immunosuppressants treat

Immunosuppressant drugs are typically used to treat conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, in which your immune system is causing a problem in your body. Immunosuppressants are also used for conditions in which your immune system is causing excessive inflammation (swelling). Examples of these autoimmune and inflammatory conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis.

Immunosuppressants can also be used if you have an organ transplant. The drugs help stop your body from attacking the new organ.

In addition, certain cancer treatments can suppress your immune system.

Examples of immunosuppressant treatments

Examples of immunosuppressant treatments that can make Boostrix less effective include:

If you’re taking an immunosuppressant drug or are having an immunosuppressant treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the best time to get your Boostrix vaccine. They can help you decide if you can get the vaccine while taking the medication or receiving the treatment, or if you should wait.

Boostrix and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Boostrix. However, if you use any of these products, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before getting Boostrix.

Boostrix and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Boostrix. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Boostrix, talk with your doctor.

Boostrix and other vaccines

If you need vaccines in addition to Boostrix, they can typically be given at the same as Boostrix. Your healthcare provider will likely choose different areas for the injections.

Talk with your doctor about whether you should get other vaccines when you receive Boostrix.

Boostrix and Menactra

Boostrix can be given at the same time as Menactra, a meningococcal ACWY vaccine that’s used to help prevent meningitis types A, C, W, and Y. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adults should get Menactra at certain ages or in certain situations. (For details, see the CDC’s recommendations for children and adults.) Within these guidelines, the CDC advises that children ages 11 to 12 years get a dose of Menactra.

Boostrix is approved for use in adults as well as children ages 10 and older, but children often receive Boostrix around ages 11 or 12 years. A clinical study of children looked at the safety and effectiveness of receiving Boostrix and Menactra together.

Children ages 11 to 18 years were given Boostrix and Menactra either at the same time or 1 month apart. Those who received the vaccines at the same time produced similar levels of antibodies against tetanus, diphtheria, and meningitis as those who received the vaccines 1 month apart.

Children who received the vaccines together produced slightly fewer antibodies against pertussis than children who received the vaccines 1 month apart. But it’s not known if this made Boostrix any less effective at helping prevent pertussis.

Talk with your doctor about when you or your child should have Boostrix and Menactra.

Boostrix and flu shots

If needed, you can get a flu shot, such as Fluarix, at the same time as Boostrix. (The CDC recommends that adults as well as children older than age 6 months get the flu vaccine every year.)

The safety and effectiveness of getting Boostrix and Fluarix together was looked at in a clinical study.

Adults ages 19 to 64 years were given Boostrix and Fluarix either at the same time or 1 month apart. Those who received the vaccines at the same time produced similar levels of antibodies against tetanus, diphtheria, and meningitis as those who received the vaccines 1 month apart.

Adults who received the vaccines together produced slightly fewer antibodies against pertussis than those who received the vaccines 1 month apart. But it’s not known if this made Boostrix any less effective at helping prevent pertussis.

Talk with your doctor about when you or your child should have Boostrix and a flu shot, such as Fluarix.

Boostrix and Shingrix

Shingrix is a vaccine for shingles. The CDC recommends that adults ages 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months.

If needed, you can get Shingrix at the same time as Boostrix. Talk with your doctor about when you should have these vaccines.

There are no known interactions between Boostrix and alcohol. But if you have certain side effects, such as a headache or fatigue (lack of energy), from the vaccine, then drinking alcohol could make them worse.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about whether it’s safe for you to drink alcohol before or after receiving Boostrix.

Other vaccines are available that can help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Boostrix, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other vaccines that may work well for you.

Alternatives for preventing tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis

An example of another vaccine that may be used to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis in adults as well as children ages 10 years and older is:

  • Adacel

Alternatives for preventing tetanus and diphtheria (but not pertussis)

Examples of other vaccines that may be used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria (Td), but not pertussis, in adults as well as children ages 10 years and older include:

  • Tenivac
  • TdVax

Like Tenivac, the Adacel vaccine has uses similar to those of Boostrix. Here’s a comparison of how Boostrix and Adacel are alike and different.

Ingredients

Boostrix and Adacel both contain tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine.

Uses

Boostrix and Adacel are both approved to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). They’re both Tdap vaccines.

Boostrix is approved for use in adults of any age as well as children ages 10 years and older. Adacel is approved for use in children and adults ages 10 to 64 years.

Boostrix is the only Tdap vaccine available for people ages 65 years and older.

Drug forms and administration

Boostrix and Adacel both come as a suspension (a liquid mixture) in a single-dose vial and a single-dose prefilled syringe. These vaccines are given by a healthcare provider as intramuscular injections in your upper arm. (“Intramuscular” means that the injection is given in a muscle.)

Your doctor will advise you on how often you should receive Boostrix or Adacel. But they’ll likely follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for adults and children. For details on Boostrix, see the “CDC recommendations” section below.

Side effects and risks

Boostrix and Adacel both contain tetanus and diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccine. Therefore, these vaccines can cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain up to 10 of the most common mild side effects that can occur with each vaccine, or with both Boostrix and Adacel (when taken individually).*

* These lists contain side effects that were seen in clinical trials for Boostrix and Adacel. Only some side effects occurred for each drug. However, according to postmarketing reports, all of these side effects have been caused by both drugs. (Postmarketing reports describe side effects that have occurred since a drug went to market.)

Serious side effects

An example of a serious side effect that can occur with both Boostrix and Adacel (when taken individually) is:

Effectiveness

Boostrix and Adacel are both used to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

These vaccines haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies, but studies have found both Boostrix and Adacel to be effective for preventing the diseases mentioned above. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers these vaccines to be similarly effective. It recommends that either vaccine can be used for people who need a Tdap vaccine. However, Boostrix is the only Tdap vaccine available for people ages 65 years and older.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Boostrix and Adacel syringes and vials generally cost about the same. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Boostrix and Adacel are both brand-name vaccines. There are currently no generic forms of either vaccine. Brand-name vaccines usually cost more than generics.

Boostrix isn’t known to be harmful if you get the vaccine while breastfeeding. The CDC recommends that you can get a Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, if you’re currently breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It’s not known if the vaccine ingredients pass into breast milk. But some of the antibodies your body makes in response to the vaccine will pass into your breast milk and can help protect your child. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.)

It’s still best to get a Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy because this provides your child with better protection from pertussis after birth. Your child will be protected by the antibodies they receive through the placenta (an organ that grows in your womb while you’re pregnant). If you breastfeed, your child will get extra antibodies from your breast milk.

If you have questions about Boostrix or a different Tdap vaccine, talk with your doctor.

As with all medications, the cost of Boostrix can vary.

The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Before approving coverage for Boostrix, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Boostrix, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Boostrix, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, reach out to your insurance company. They can aid you and tell you if there are any financial assistance options available.

Generic version

Boostrix isn’t available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Boostrix is used to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). These are severe diseases that are caused by infection with certain types of bacteria.

What causes tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis?

Tetanus is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. The bacterium can enter your body through severe or dirty cuts, wounds, and burns.

Diphtheria is caused by a bacterium called Corynebacterium diphtheriae. This bacterium can spread from person to person in respiratory droplets (small drops of liquid) from coughs and sneezes. The bacterium enters your body through your nose or mouth.

Pertussis is caused by Bordetella pertussis. This is a different type of bacterium that can spread from person to person in respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes.

What does Boostrix do?

Boostrix works by stimulating your immune system to make antibodies against these bacteria. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.)

Boostrix contains extracts from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis bacteria. The extracts have been inactivated (disabled) so they can’t cause illness. Boostrix also contains fragments of Bordetella pertussis bacteria, which are also inactivated. All these bacterial extracts and fragments are called antigens.

When you receive the Boostrix vaccine, your immune system recognizes that there are foreign antigens in your body. As a result, your immune system starts making antibodies against these antigens. Your immune system produces a different type of antibody for each different antigen. The antibodies attach themselves to the antigens, and this flags them for destruction by your immune system.

The antibodies stay in your body. So if the actual bacteria that cause diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis ever enter your system, the antibodies will attach to the bacteria or the substances the bacteria produce. This allows your immune system to quickly destroy the bacteria or the substances before they cause a serious infection.

The protection that antibodies provide is called immunity.

How long does it take to work?

After you receive Boostrix, it takes about 2 weeks for your body to produce enough antibodies to protect you from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

This vaccine comes with several precautions. Before taking Boostrix, talk with your doctor about your health history. Boostrix may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Severe illness with a fever. If you’re very ill with a fever, you shouldn’t have the Boostrix vaccine until you recover. Call your doctor’s office to reschedule your vaccine appointment. However, if you have a minor illness, such as the common cold, there’s no need to postpone getting Boostrix.
  • Severe allergic reaction. If you’ve ever had a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to Boostrix or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t receive Boostrix. You also shouldn’t receive Boostrix if you’ve ever had a severe allergic reaction to any other tetanus, diphtheria, or pertussis vaccine. Ask your doctor what other vaccines are better options for you.
  • Latex allergy. The tip caps of Boostrix prefilled syringes contain latex. So if you’ve ever had a severe allergic reaction to latex, you shouldn’t receive this form of Boostrix. Your healthcare provider should use the vial form of Boostrix instead.
  • Encephalopathy. If you’ve had encephalopathy (a reaction affecting the brain) within 7 days of getting a pertussis vaccine in the past, you shouldn’t receive Boostrix. Symptoms of encephalopathy can include reduced levels of consciousness, coma, and prolonged seizures. Ask your doctor what other vaccines are better options for you.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a nerve problem that’s caused by your immune system mistakenly attacking your nerves. If you had GBS within 6 weeks of receiving a tetanus vaccine in the past, you could be at risk for developing GBS if you receive Boostrix. Talk with your doctor about whether Boostrix is right for you.
  • Neurological disorders. Neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, affect the nervous system. If you have a neurological disorder that’s unstable or getting worse, you shouldn’t receive Boostrix until the disorder is under control. That’s because it’s not known if Boostrix could make your condition worse. Talk with your doctor about whether Boostrix is right for you.
  • Severe injection site reaction. If you’ve received a tetanus vaccine and had severe swelling, redness, or pain where it was injected, talk with your doctor about whether Boostrix is right for you. If they say that you can receive Boostrix, you shouldn’t have the vaccine until at least 10 years after your last tetanus vaccine.
  • Underactive immune system. If your immune system doesn’t work well, you can still receive Boostrix. This vaccine is non-live (inactive) and usually doesn’t cause infection. However, your immune system may not make enough antibodies in response to this vaccine. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.) So Boostrix may not provide enough protection from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Talk with your doctor about whether you may need extra doses of Boostrix.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Boostrix, see the “Boostrix side effects” section above.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Boostrix is a Tdap vaccine that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for active booster immunization against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis in adults as well as children ages 10 years and older.

Administration

Boostrix should be given as a single dose via intramuscular injection into the deltoid muscle. It should not be given intravenously, intradermally, or subcutaneously.

Mechanism of action

Boostrix protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis by stimulating production of the following antibodies:

  • neutralizing antibodies to tetanus toxin
  • neutralizing antibodies to diphtheria toxin
  • anti-PT (pertussis toxin) antibodies
  • anti-FHA (filamentous hemagglutinin) antibodies
  • anti-PRN (pertactin) antibodies

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Since Boostrix is a vaccine, there’s no information on its pharmacokinetics or metabolism.

Contraindications

Boostrix in contraindicated in anyone with a history of severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to:

  • any tetanus toxoid, diphtheria toxoid, or pertussis antigen-containing vaccine
  • any other component of Boostrix (the tip cap of the prefilled syringe contains latex)

Boostrix is also contraindicated in anyone who developed encephalopathy within 7 days of a previous dose of a pertussis antigen-containing vaccine. (The encephalopathy must have not been attributed to any cause other than the vaccine.)

Storage

Boostrix should be stored in a refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not freeze Boostrix.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.