Tetanus Vaccine Now Facing Shortages


The CDC urges healthcare providers to preserve their current supply.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/MargJohnsonVA.com

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/MargJohnsonVA.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported1,2 that the tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine is currently experiencing limited supply, as a result of one of the major manufacturers of the jab, MassBiologics, deciding to discontinue production of TdVax, which is distributed by Grifols.

Up until this point, there have been two providers of the vaccine, with Sanofi manufacturing Tenivac. The French company noted that it is taking steps to extend that US supply as a way to proactively handle what the CDC is anticipating will be a constrained market.

In the meantime, the agency is recommending that the tdap vaccine—a combination of diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis—be used as an alternative “whenever possible while Td supplies are constrained.” They are currently marketed in the United States as Adacel and Boostrix, being produced by Sanofi and GSK respectively.

Although Adacel is only approved for use through 64 years of age and Boostrix for adults for 65 years of age and older, the CDC also urges providers in this case to, “administer the Tdap vaccine they have available and it will be valid.”

Tetanus is caused by the Colstridium tetani bacteria, which inhabit dirt, soil, and feces.3 Symptoms can include:

  • Lockjaw (the tightening of the neck or jaw muscles) which can cause difficulty breathing, speaking, swallowing, and muscle stiffening
  • Paralysis
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • A rapid heart rate
  • Fever and excessive sweating.
  • Muscle spasms all over the body, but especially in the stomach

Although the timeframe of getting a tetanus shot varies by age, it is highly recommended that adults receive a vaccine every 10 years. On the other hand, babies and children should receive six doses at the two-month, four-month, six-month, between 15- and 18-months, between 4- and 6-years-old, and between the 11- and 12-year-old marks.


1. Current Vaccine Shortages & Delays. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/clinical-resources/shortages.html

2. Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccine Recommendations. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/dtap-tdap-td/hcp/recommendations.html#constrained-supply-2024

3. Tetanus Shot. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/24283-tetanus-shot

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