SKAI Tetanus prevalence chart

What are the side effects of HepB-DTPa-Hib-IPV or DTPa-IPV vaccines?

Very common side effects

  • Up to 33 per cent of children who have vaccines that contain DTPa, Hib, or IPV experience redness at the injection site that lasts up to a few days.

Common side effects

  • About 10 to 13 per cent of people who have vaccines that contain DTPa, IPV, Hib or HepB experience mild swelling or pain at the injection site that lasts one or two days. 
  • Up to 20 per cent of children who have vaccines that contain DTPa, Hib or IPV develop a mild fever that lasts one or two days.  
  • About 5 to 10 per cent of babies who have vaccines that contain IPV experience decreased appetite.
  • About 2 per cent of people who get booster doses of a vaccine that includes DTPa get a sore red, swollen arm. The swelling starts in the first two days after vaccination. It lasts for one to seven days and then gets better. Booster doses are recommended for children at 18 months, four years and ten to 11 years, and again when adults are 50 and 65.
  • About 1 per cent of children who have a vaccine that contains IPV get a hard lump at the injection site that lasts a few days or weeks. 

Rare side effects

  • Babies who get a fever (for any reason) occasionally experience a fit (febrile convulsion) that lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. 
  • Some people who get vaccines that include HepB experience nausea or aches in their muscles or joints in the days afterwards.

Very rare side effects

  • About 0.0032 per cent of children who get the vaccine as babies experience hypotonic-hyporesponsive episodes (HHE). These children get very pale, go limp, and don’t respond to their surroundings. Their lips and fingernails can also turn blue. This reaction can last for a few minutes up to about 36 hours. HHE can happen up to 48 hours after getting the vaccine. HHEs don’t usually have any long-term effects on children’s health.
  • About 0.0001 per cent of people who get any of the vaccines have an allergic reaction that affects their whole body, called anaphylaxis. This reaction usually happens within 15 minutes of getting the vaccination and can be treated with an injection (epinephrine). People who have this reaction usually recover quickly and don’t experience any long-term effects.


What are the symptoms of tetanus (lockjaw)?

Usual symptoms

  • Tetanus often starts with a stiff jaw or neck, with pain in the neck, shoulder and back muscles. 

Common symptoms

  • Some people get violent, painful spasms (cramps) in all of the muscles of their body. These spasms can be so strong that they break bones or tear muscles. 
  • These spasms can affect muscles in people’s throats and prevent them from breathing, or stop their hearts from beating properly.
  • Tetanus can also cause lung infection (pneumonia) and blood clots.
  • About 2 per cent of people with tetanus will die. The risk is greatest for the very young and the very old.


REFERENCES / How vaccination has impacted the prevalence of tetanus

Chiu C, Dey A, Wang H, et al. Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Australia, 2005 to 2007, Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 34 Supplement December 2010: S1-167.

Updated with data from NNDSS Annual Report Writing Group. Australia’s Notifiable Disease Status, 2010: Annual Report of the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 36 March 2012: 36:1-69.