Tetanus boosters can work for almost thirty years

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The uncertainty of science: A new study has found that tetanus vaccine booster shots might last three times longer than previously believed.

The study looked for tetanus antibodies in 546 adults who had received the tetanus vaccine at some point in the past. Of those 546 adults, the researchers found that 97 percent still had sufficient antibodies to fight off tetanus. Since tetanus boosters are also designed to fight diphtheria, the same percentage also had antibodies to fight off that disease.

The researchers then looked at the amount of antibodies present in each individual compared to the amount of time that had passed since they received their vaccines. The result was that the study determined the half-life of a tetanus booster to be about 14 years, which means that the average person should be able to go about 28 years between boosters, or almost three times as long as the current CDC recommendation.

The half-life for diphtheria immunity was found to be even longer, at about 27 years, or roughly 54 years between boosters.


  • Wayne

    Yow! That stock-picture at the inquisitr article, looks a bit over the top– stepped on a few nails in my youth & never that much blood! Hockey-puck to head however… blood all over the place.

    ..that aside; excellent medical factoid, I think I’m set for life!

    Anyone know anything on the longevity of the Hep-B vaccine series?

  • PeterF

    Common misconception. Rusty nails do not cause tetanus. A rusty nail is dangerous because it has been lying on the ground and it can break the skin barrier. Tetanus lives in the ground, the same as gangrene and anthrax. You can contract tetanus from anything that can cut your foot. (Like a pop top after you blow out a flip flop, even if you find your lost shaker of salt)

  • Wayne

    – It was a well known urban myth from my childhood that rusty-nails were a direct cause of death & should not be stepped upon.
    The first one generally freaks you out, but not as much blood as that graphic! ( It’s those head injuries, that bleed like water!) {nail-gun to the fleshy part of your hand, is pretty messy as well}

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