One tetanus booster and one diphtheria booster every 30 years are enough to be protected from the diseases, suggests a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Normally, the tetanus and diphtheria boosters are recommended every 10 years. The new findings, on the other hand, indicate that once every 3 decades might be enough. Furthermore, this would also save much money; the study suggests that US authorities could save US$280 million every year if the recommendation changes from 10 to 30 years for both tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations.
These results are, however, only preliminary, and experts will generally still advise to have the booster every decade.
Lead author Mark K. Slifka, from Oregon Health & Science University, explains that there is little evidence to support or to disprove the recommendation of every 10 years.
It is to be mentioned that the tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations are currently administered together. They are given regularly in early childhood, and after the first four years of life, boosters every 10 years are deemed adequate. The new study shows that the antibodies meant to combat the diseases stay in the body for much longer though – they remain for up to 30 years after the last booster.
Another advantage entailed is that one might find it easier to remember going for the vaccination at 30, 60, and 90 years of age.
These findings are not, by themselves, going to change the recommendations in countries abiding by them. For instance, the Advisory Committee on Immunisation practices will have to take the new data into consideration before things change in the US, says Slifka. But, he also adds that the 10-year-program might soon be modified, specially that the World Health Organisation and many other countries do not follow it.
This does not mean that one should be neglectful when it comes to vaccinating one’s children. Slifka says that it is to be ascertained that children are vaccinated as many times as is recommended. The 30-year immunity in adults will only be possible if they got the vaccination for the adequate amount of times as kids.