2.4 Tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine
2.4.1 What is tetanus toxoid vaccine?
The same tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine that is given to infants in the pentavalent vaccine is also given on its own, as a single vaccine, to women of childbearing age (Figure 2.6). The vaccine is a cloudy liquid, and the powder can settle to the bottom of the vial if it is left to stand for a long time. Shake the vial to mix the vaccine powder and liquid before use.
From your reading of Study Session 1, how do you think immunizing women against tetanus also prevents tetanus in their newborn babies?
Neonatal tetanus is a major cause of death in newborns; it is described in detail in Study Session 3 of the Communicable Diseases Module, Part 1.
The antibodies that form in the mother’s body in response to the vaccine pass across the placenta and get into the fetus; they give ‘passive’ protection against tetanus to the baby during the birth and for the first few months of life.