Tetanus Vaccine

Vaccine Information Leaflet

What the Tetanus Vaccine Used for?

Tetanus vaccines help to prevent tetanus from recent cuts or wounds that have been contaminated with the bacteria, Clostridium tetani. Some examples of tetanus-prone wounds include those contaminated with dirt, faeces, soil and saliva, or a puncture wound (e.g. due to an animal bite).

Tetanus is a serious disease affecting the nerves. The tetanus bacteria produces a toxin that causes “lockjaw”, resulting in painful muscle contractions. This affects breathing and swallowing and can lead to death.

Who Should Receive the Tetanus Vaccine?

As part of post-exposure prevention of tetanus, the recommendations are summarized below:

Type of Wound
​Person Not/Partially Vaccinated Against Tetanus or Vaccination Status Unknown
Person Completely Vaccinated Against Tetanus

(Time Since Last Booster)
​5 to 10 years
​More than 10 years
​Minor: Clean
​1 dose of Tetanus vaccine
​No need for Tetanus vaccine
​1 dose of Tetanus vaccine
​Major: Clean or Tetanus-prone
​1 dose of Tetanus vaccine*
​1 dose of Tetanus vaccine
​1 dose of Tetanus vaccine*

*Please consult your doctor for more advice on the number of doses required to complete the vaccination series.

You may also consider receiving the tetanus vaccine, if you have not had the vaccine in the last 10 years, and are going to remote areas where medical care is not easily accessible.

What Precautions Should I Follow Before Receiving the Tetanus Vaccine?

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this vaccine or any of the other ingredients of this vaccine

  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding

  • You are taking any other medications

  • You are currently not feeling well and having a fever

  • You have a weak immune system due to an illness such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection

  • You are currently on medications which weaken your immune system (e.g. high dose steroids)

  • You have recently received any other vaccines

  • You have a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a rare nerve condition)

  • You have a history of bleeding disorders

How Is The Tetanus Vaccine Given?

It is given by injection into a muscle, or underneath the skin.

What Are Some Common Side-Effects Of The Tetanus Vaccine?

  • Some people may feel faint after the vaccination

    • Sit for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to avoid fainting 

  • Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site 

    • You may place a cold compress over the affected area for relief

    • You may take paracetamol for pain relief 

  • Headache

    • You may take paracetamol for pain relief


Please see a doctor if these side effects do not get better or become worse. 

What Are Some Rare But Serious Side-Effects That I Need To Seek Medical Advice Immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your healthcare professional immediately.


Please take note that the above is not a complete list of all possible side effects. If you have any concerns about your medication or if you have other side effects that you think are caused by this medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on Oct 2022

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