May 24, 2011

Emergency Doses of Tetanus Vaccine Headed to Joplin for Tornado Response Effort

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has arranged for emergency shipments of 1,300 doses of tetanus-containing vaccine to be delivered to the Joplin area today.

One thousand doses of the new pertussis-containing vaccine (Tdap) will go to the Jasper County Health Department and 300 doses of tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine will go to the Joplin City Health Department.

Clean-up and repair activities during and after a disaster present a greater risk of injuries that can lead to serious infection. One of the most serious infections is tetanus, also known as "Lock Jaw," which can be deadly.

Tetanus infection is preventable by vaccination. Follow these recommendations:

  • You should get a booster dose of tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine if you have not had a dose within the past 10 years.
  • You should also get a Td booster if you are unsure of the last time you received a Td shot.
  • Anyone who receives a deep cut or puncture wound during reentry and clean-up activities should seek immediate medical attention and ask about a tetanus-containing vaccine.
  • The new pertussis-containing Tdap vaccine is one lifetime shot and is preferred over the Td vaccine. Tdap may be administered to children as young 7 years of age (who have not completed their primary series) through the lifespan for individuals who have not already received a previous dose.
  • For more information, contact your health care provider or your local public health agency. You can also contact DHSS, Bureau of Immunization Assessment and Assurance at 800-219-3224 and 573-751-6124 or by email at