World Immunisation Week 2017(24th April – 30th April) : Understanding the implications of Tetanus

World Immunisation Week 2017: Understanding the implications of Tetanus

Spreading awareness to build stronger immunisation practices

New Delhi, April 21, 2017: The theme for World Immunisation Week (24th April – 30th April), this year is VaccinesWork. World Health Organization is adopting a comprehensive approach to ensure immunisation throughout a person’s life with the aim of promoting the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030. It is extremely important to understand the need for immunisation as it is the most successful and cost-effective health interventions. World immunisation week accelerates action to increase awareness for immunisation and improve vaccination delivery services.

Immunisation is an essential building block for any healthcare community. It is the sign of universal health coverage and it is also a fundamental strategy in achieving health priorities i.e. controlling viral hepatitis, to curbing antimicrobial resistance, to providing a platform for adolescent health and improving antenatal and new-born care.

Immunisation is essential for healthy development as it prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases. As per World Health Organization every year, due to widespread immunisation 2 – 3 million deaths are averted. In 2015 86% (116 million) of infants worldwide received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine. By 2015, 126 countries had 90% coverage of DTP3 vaccine.Currently there are 19.4 million deaths that are occurring because of unvaccinated people and under vaccinated people.

According to WHO, maternal and neonatal tetanus vaccinations are not taking place on a wide spread scale and need to be increased. Countries must make more concerted efforts to prevent tetanus as it’s one of the most common ways to fall prey to toxins. Tetanus can be characterised as a festering infection which affects the muscles and nervous system of the body. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of reported cases of tetanus are fatal.

 This World Immunisation Week Dr Rahul Nagpal, Director & HOD, Paediatrics and Neonatology Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj helps us understand  tetanus.


 Causes of Tetanus:

  • Bacteria and toxins found worldwide in soil, dust, and manure are the known cause of tetanus
  • The bacterium ‘Clostridium Tetan’ enters the body through a break in the skin

Symptoms of Tetanus:

  • Seizures
  • Severe muscle spasms
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Trouble in swallowing
  • High blood pressure

Who the Tetanus vaccine can be administered to:

  • Those who did not receive a primary immunisation series during childhood
  • Those who have not received a Td/Tdap booster dose within the past 10 years
  • Older adults and diabetics, who are at higher risk for tetanus and have not, had a booster vaccine in the last 10 years
  • Any adult who has recovered from tetanus (lockjaw) disease should receive Tdap or Td.
  • Adults who have not already received Tdap should get a single Tdap dose in place of one Td booster
  • All people in contact with infants younger than one year of age should also receive Tdap vaccine to protect against pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Mothers who are pregnant so that neonatal tetanus can be prevented. If the mother is vaccinated the infants acquire immunity and are protected against many infections

 Facts about the effectiveness of the Tetanus Vaccination:

  • Vaccination provides protection to the vaccinated individual only and can’t be transmitted from one person to another
  • A tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine should be given to adults in place of one Td vaccine to protect them against pertussis (whooping cough), too
  • Tetanus is a safe injection as long as it is taken straight out fridge and administered


It is essential to understand the hazards that tetanus projects. The rate of neo natal tetanus is 14% but with the immunisation of mother this rate will fall miraculously. Tetanus rate will also reduce in adults if proper precautions are taken and the necessary vaccinations are administered immediately.



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