Te rongoā āraimate mō te pakaua hukihuki, te whakapokenga korokoro me te mare tekekō (Boostrix) Tetanus, diptheria and whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix)

This booster vaccine is free and recommended for tamariki from age 11. It is for protection against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. You can also get it free when you are pregnant, and from 45 and 65 years old.

What Boostrix protects you from


This rare but serious disease is caused by bacteria found in soil and manure (horse or cow poo). You can get the disease if dirt carrying this bacteria gets into a wound.

Symptoms of tetanus disease include painful muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, chewing and swallowing.

Almost all cases of tetanus have happened in unvaccinated people.

Find out more about symptoms, causes and treatment.



Diphtheria is a serious disease that can easily spread from person to person (especially within families) through coughing and sneezing.

It causes a skin infection but can also affect the throat causing breathing difficulties.

Diphtheria was a common cause of death in children until the 1940s. But this disease is now very rare in New Zealand because of immunisation.

Find out more about symptoms, causes and treatment.


Whooping cough

Whooping cough (pertussis) causes breathing difficulties and severe coughing fits. The cough can go on for weeks or months which is why it’s sometimes called the ‘100 day cough’.

It can lead to pneumonia, seizures, and other brain issues. More than half of babies under 12 months old who catch it need to go to hospital, and up to 1 in 50 of these babies die.

It can easily spread between family members by coughing and sneezing. It can also spread quickly around early education centres and schools.

Whooping cough is not under control in Aotearoa New Zealand. When outbreaks occur, it affects thousands of people.

Find out more about symptoms, causes and treatment.

Whooping cough

When to get the Boostrix vaccine

For tamariki

The tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough vaccine is offered to children for free from when they are 11 years old.

It is available through some schools for students in Year 7 and is also free from your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider.


Certain adults are recommended to have a whooping cough booster at least every 10 years. This includes people who:

  • work with young children and vulnerable people
  • live with a newborn baby
  • are at higher risk of severe illness from whooping cough, for example those with chronic respiratory disease.

Free tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix) are offered:

  • for some people from 45 years old (if they have received fewer than four tetanus doses in their life-time), and
  • for everyone from 65 years old (if it has been more than 10 years since previous dose of Td or Tdap). If you have already had a free tetanus and diphtheria vaccine from age 65, you will not be eligible for a free Boostrix vaccine.

If you are not eligible for a free whooping cough booster, they can be purchased. Your vaccinator can give you advice on how often it is recommended you have a booster.

It will cost between $40 and $90 depending on where you book.

If you are pregnant

Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for babies. For this reason, pregnant people are encouraged to have an additional tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough vaccine dose.

It is most effective when given from 16-26 weeks of pregnancy, but is available and free from 13 weeks of every pregnancy.

Pregnancy and immunisations

If you get a dirty wound

If you are concerned about a wound, especially if it is deep or there is dirt in it, you can also receive this vaccine for free. This gives extra protection against tetanus. It is funded by ACC.

Video: Year 7 immunisation: Protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough


Which vaccine is used

The vaccine we use in Aotearoa New Zealand is Boostrix. It is sometimes called dTap vaccine.

It is given as an injection, normally into a muscle in your upper arm.

Boostrix information — Medsafe (PDF 106KB) (external link)

Side effects and reactions

Like most medicines, vaccines can sometimes cause reactions. These are usually mild, and not everyone will get them.

Mild reactions are normal and shows that your immune system is responding to the vaccine.

If you’re going to have any reactions, they normally happen in the first few days after getting vaccinated. The vaccine itself is gone from your body within a few hours or days.

The most common reaction to an immunisation includes:

  • a slight fever
  • pain or swelling where the needle went in.

Other common reactions

Other common reactions usually happen within 6 to 24 hours. They include:

  • a headache
  • feeling sick
  • aches and pains.

Allergic reactions

Serious allergic reactions are extremely rare. Only about 1 in 1 million people will experience this.

Your vaccinator is well-trained and knows what to look for and can treat an allergic reaction quickly if it happens.

Serious allergic reactions normally happen within the first few minutes of vaccination, this is why you need to wait for up to 20 minutes after immunisation.

More information

Find more information about common side effects, what to look for and how to report side effects.

Vaccine side effects, reactions and safety (external link)


Boostrix is administered as part of the National Immunisation Schedule at 11 years of age. The vaccine is delivered in the school-based vaccination programme to children in Year 7 in most parts of the country.


Vaccinations sites that can give the tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough vaccine

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