Boostrix is a brand-name vaccine prescribed to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). It’s also given during pregnancy to help prevent pertussis in babies.
Boostrix is known as a Tdap vaccine. It’s FDA-approved to be given:
- to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis in adults and in children ages 10 years and older
- during the third trimester of pregnancy to help prevent pertussis in babies
You’ll find key information about Boostrix below.
- Drug form: liquid suspension given as an intramuscular injection by a healthcare professional
- Generic or biosimilar available? No
- Prescription required? Yes
- Controlled substance? No
- Year of FDA approval: 2005
Boostrix is available only as a brand-name vaccine. It’s not currently available in a
Boostrix is partially made from living cells, which classifies it as a
Boostrix helps prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, so it’s known as a Tdap vaccine. Another brand-name Tdap vaccine is also available, called Adacel. (For more about Adacel, see the “Boostrix vs. Adacel” section below.)
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 about the possible side effects of Boostrix, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or 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
Below is a partial list of mild side effects of Boostrix. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or view Boostrix’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Boostrix can include:
- injection site reactions (pain, redness or other discoloration, and swelling at the injection site)
- fatigue (lack of energy)
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain
- mild allergic reaction*
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.
* For more information about allergic reaction and Boostrix, see the “Allergic reaction” 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 can include:
- severe allergic reaction*
- fainting after receiving Boostrix, which may result in a fall
* For more information about allergic reaction and Boostrix, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.
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 10–18 years than in adults. Side effects that were more common in this age group included:
- abdominal pain
In addition, injection site reactions such as pain, discoloration, and swelling were more common in children ages 10–12 old years than in older age groups.
As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after receiving Boostrix. This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical trials. But there are rare reports of allergic reaction since Boostrix became available for use.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
- skin rash
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 an allergic reaction to Boostrix, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
If you can become pregnant, consider the following information about pregnancy, birth control, and breastfeeding before receiving Boostrix.
Boostrix and pregnancy
Boostrix isn’t known to have harmful effects when you get the vaccine during pregnancy. In fact, the
Newborns who contract pertussis will likely need 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 2 months old.
Having a Tdap vaccine, such as Boostrix, in the third trimester of your pregnancy causes your body to make antibodies against pertussis. (Antibodies are immune system proteins that help fight infection.) During pregnancy, the antibodies pass to the fetus, helping protect them from pertussis after they’re born.
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.
Boostrix pregnancy registry
Boostrix and breastfeeding
Boostrix isn’t known to be harmful if you get the vaccine while breastfeeding. The
It’s not known whether 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.
It’s still best to get a Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy because this protects your child from pertussis after birth.
If you have questions about Boostrix or a different Tdap vaccine, given your breastfeeding plans, talk with your doctor.
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 reduced immune system activity. 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.
Does Boostrix cause autism?
No. Boostrix doesn’t cause autism either in children who get the vaccine or in children born to females* 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.
* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.
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
- 97% 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.
Your doctor will advise you on when you should receive the Boostrix vaccine. Be sure to follow the vaccine schedule that your doctor recommends for you.
Drug forms and strengths
A healthcare professional will give you Boostrix as an intramuscular injection in your upper arm. (“Intramuscular” means that the injection is given in a muscle.)
Boostrix comes as a liquid 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.
Dosage for preventing tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
- Adults who’ve never been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis. It’s also recommended that adults get a booster dose of the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine every 10 years. A booster vaccine is used to “boost” the effects of an earlier vaccine a person has been given.
- Adults who have a severe or dirty cut, wound, or burn and who haven’t had a tetanus booster in the last 5 years.
Note: 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.)
Dosage when given during pregnancy
Boostrix is approved for administration during the third trimester of pregnancy to help protect babies from contracting pertussis in the first weeks after birth.
Boostrix is approved for use in children ages 10 years and older. The
If your child did not receive all of their diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)* vaccines, a Tdap vaccine such as Boostrix may be given as a
Otherwise, the recommended dosage 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.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves vaccines such as Boostrix to help 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 years and older. It’s also approved for use during pregnancy (see below). Boostrix is also called a Tdap vaccine.
In the United States and many other countries, children up to the age of 6 years old are typically given five doses of vaccines to help prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (DTaP vaccines). However, the effectiveness of this first round of vaccines wears off over time. Booster vaccines are given to produce ongoing immunity (protection) from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
Boostrix can be given as your first Tdap vaccine or as a booster vaccine.
Boostrix given during pregnancy for preventing pertussis
The FDA has approved Boostrix to be given during the third trimester of pregnancy to help protect babies from contracting pertussis in the first weeks after birth. The
You can refer to the “Things to consider when taking Boostrix” section above for details about receiving the vaccine during pregnancy.
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 11–12 years old.
Ages Boostrix is approved for
Boostrix is approved for use in adults of any age, as well as children ages 10 years and older.
Doctors may also give Boostrix to children ages 7 years and older who haven’t completed their full DTaP vaccines in the past.
There are two brands of Tdap vaccine available: Boostrix and Adacel. As with 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 (ages 65 years and older) can receive Boostrix but not Adacel.
For details about how Boostrix and Adacel compare, you can refer to this article.
Boostrix can interact with several other medications.
Before taking 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.
Immunosuppressant drugs can interact with Boostrix. Examples of these drugs include:
- chemotherapy drugs for cancer
- radiation therapy (radiotherapy) for cancer
- cyclosporine (Neoral, Gengraf, Sandimmune)
- mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept)
- tacrolimus (Prograf, Astagraf XL)
- azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)
- methotrexate (Trexall, others)
- high doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone (Rayos)
This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Boostrix. If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Alcohol is not known to interact with Boostrix. It’s likely safe to consume alcohol around the time you receive the vaccine. But if you have certain side effects from the vaccine, such as a headache or fatigue, then drinking alcohol could make them worse.
If you have questions about how much alcohol is safe to drink while taking Boostrix, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
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.
The following vaccines are similar to Boostrix:
* These are examples of vaccines that may be used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis.
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. You can refer to this article for details about the cost of Boostrix.
Drug coupons: You can visit Optum Perks* for price estimates of Boostrix. These estimates are based on the use of Optum Perks coupons. Note: Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.
Financial and insurance assistance: If you need financial support to pay for Boostrix, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
Generic or biosimilar version: Boostrix isn’t available in a
* Optum Perks is a sister site of Medical News Today.
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
- severe allergic reaction
- latex allergy
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- neurological disorders
- severe injection site reaction to a different tetanus vaccine
- an underactive immune system
If you have an egg allergy, it’s safe to receive the Boostrix vaccine. Boostrix is not produced using eggs and does not contain any form of egg protein.
Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Boostrix, see the “Boostrix side effects” section above.
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 another 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.