The Importance of Diphtheria Vaccine for Adults

Diphtheria vaccine is not only important given to children, but also adults. The reason is, this easily contagious disease can also attack adults who have not received the diphtheria vaccine. In addition to being easily contagious, diphtheria can also cause damage to body organs.

Diphtheria is caused by a bacterial infection Corynebacterium diphtheriae which attacks the throat and nose. Diphtheria can cause symptoms in the form of coughing, the appearance of a lump in the neck due to swollen lymph nodes, and the formation of a grayish white layer in the throat.

This disease can be transmitted through the air, namely through splashes of phlegm or saliva when diphtheria sufferers sneeze and cough. In addition, diphtheria can also be transmitted if someone touches an object that has been contaminated with the bacteria that causes diphtheria.

Although it can spread easily from one person to another, diphtheria can be prevented by giving the diphtheria vaccine.

Preventing Diphtheria

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia recommends administering the diphtheria vaccine as an effort to control and prevent the spread of diphtheria outbreaks (Extraordinary Events) in Indonesia, as happened in December 2017.

In adults, diphtheria vaccine is available in combination with other disease vaccines, namely tetanus and pertussis (Tdap vaccine), or with tetanus alone (Td vaccine).

The Tdap vaccine can be given to adolescents and adults aged 18–64 years. This vaccine is given 1 time with repeated doses every 10 years.

Diphtheria vaccination for adults can be done in various health facilities, both in doctor's offices, vaccination clinics, to government or private hospitals.

Adults Who Need the Diphtheria Vaccine

The following are some indications or conditions that make adults need to get the diphtheria vaccine or the Tdap vaccine:

  • Never received the Tdap vaccine
  • Forgot whether you have been given the Tdap vaccination or not
  • Direct contact with diphtheria patients
  • Adults, seniors, and babysitters caring for babies under 1 year old
  • Traveling to diphtheria distribution or outbreak areas
  • Live in the same house, neighbors, or have/will visit diphtheria sufferers
  • New mothers who have not or have had the diphtheria vaccine
  • Pregnant at 27-36 weeks pregnant

The diphtheria vaccine rarely causes side effects. If side effects occur, the symptoms are similar to general immunization reactions, such as pain and swelling at the injection site and low-grade fever. These side effects will usually subside on their own within a few days.

In addition, the diphtheria vaccine can also cause allergic reactions in some people who are allergic to the ingredients in this vaccine. If allergy symptoms appear, usually the vaccine will not be continued.

Diphtheria is a highly contagious and dangerous disease. Without treatment or vaccination, this disease carries a high risk of causing severe damage to the heart, kidneys, and nervous system.

Therefore, it is recommended that you get the diphtheria vaccine on schedule, of course, by consulting your doctor first. By getting diphtheria vaccination, you can also prevent the transmission of this disease to other people.