Adacel®-Polio and Boostrix®-Polio (Tdap-IPV)

January 2016

Vaccine Protection

Adacel®-Polio and Boostrix®-Polio are combination vaccines that protect against four diseases in one needle. They protect almost 100 per cent of children against tetanus, diphtheria and polio and approximately 85 per cent against severe whooping cough.

It is given as a booster vaccine for children four to six years of age. Vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus and polio is required by law for children attending school in Ontario, unless there is a valid exemption.

Protection against tetanus and diphtheria lasts for approximately ten years and protection against pertussis is expected to last for at least four years. To stay protected teenagers 14 to 16 years of age need a booster dose of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine.

Adults should also get one booster dose with diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; then tetanus and diphtheria vaccine every ten years.

Recommendations for Use

All children between four and six years of age should receive one shot as a booster dose.

Vaccine Side Effects and Risks

Common side effects include mild redness, swelling and pain where the needle was given. Few people may have fever, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, nausea, chills, generalized body ache, low energy, sore and swollen joints after getting the vaccine. These reactions are mild and last no more than a few days. Severe allergic and neurological reactions are very rare.

Call your health care provider if you or your child has any of the symptoms within 14 days of getting the needle: hives, swelling of the face or mouth, trouble breathing, fever over 40°C, crying for more than three hours, convulsions or seizure, drowsiness, or any other severe or unexpected symptoms.

Do Not Get the Vaccine, If You Have:

  • severe allergy or neurological reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio. Signs of severe allergy include hives, swelling of the mouth and throat, wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, hypotension and shock.
  • allergies to any part of the vaccines including neomycin, polymyxin B and streptomycin

Delay Vaccination If You Have:

  • an acute febrile illness more serious than a cold
  • an unstable neurologic disorder
  • a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, with no other identified cause, within 6 weeks of receipt of a previous tetanus-toxoid containing vaccine
  • had a serious reaction at the injection site following a previous dose of a vaccine containing tetanus and/or diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccine


Diphtheria is serious bacterial disease of the throat, nose and skin. Infection can cause breathing problems, heart failure, and nerve damage. It is easily spread by coughing and sneezing and direct contact with an infected person. Diphtheria kills up to 10 per cent of people who get the disease. Today, diphtheria is rare due to immunization.


Tetanus or lockjaw is a rare and often fatal disease that most often occurs when the tetanus bacteria get into a deep cut in the skin. Tetanus causes severe cramping of the muscles, particularly in the jaw, neck and abdomen. Tetanus bacteria are found everywhere including soil, dust and animal manure and can survive for long periods in the soil.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis or whooping cough is a serious disease that can infect people of any age, but is most dangerous for babies. Infection can spread easily through coughing and sneezing and direct contact with an infected person. Pertussis may cause violent coughing which can last for weeks. Vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures and even brain damage may result. Pneumonia may occur in more than one out of five children. One to three deaths occur each year in Canada, particularly in babies too young to have begun their immunization, or who have not had all their needles. Immunizing family and friends helps to protect babies.


Polio is a disease of the spinal cord that can cause nerve damage and paralyze the muscles used for breathing, talking, eating and walking. It is spread when people drink water or eat food with the polio virus in it. Polio is also spread from person to person. Polio has been eliminated in Canada due to vaccination. However, poliovirus is still found in other parts of the world and can be re-introduced to Toronto through travel or migration.

More information

  • Talk to your doctor or call our Immunization Line at 416-392-1250