Diphtheria - Vaccination 

Diphtheria vaccination 

The most effective way of preventing diphtheria is to ensure all of your vaccinations are up-to-date.

Vaccinations for diphtheria are part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination schedule.

In total, children should receive five doses of the diphtheria vaccination. It's usually combined with other vaccines. For most people, five doses provide a good level of protection against diphtheria for the rest of their life.

Babies

All babies are offered vaccination against diphtheria as part of the 5-in-1 vaccine that is given when they're two, three and four months old. The 5-in-1 vaccine, also known as the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine, also protects against:

Pre-school children

A booster vaccine against diphtheria is given as part of the 4-in-1pre-school booster (also called the DTaP/IPV vaccine) to children who are about three years and four months old. The 4-in-1 vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio.

Teenagers

A final booster dose of diphtheria vaccine is given as part of the 3-in-1 teenage booster (also called the Td/IPV vaccine) to children when they're 13 to 18 years old. Th 3-in-1 vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus and polio.

If you're not sure whether your family's vaccinations are up-to-date, ask at your GP surgery.

Travel vaccination against diphtheria

Further booster diphtheria vaccinations may be required if you're going to live or work in parts of the world where diphtheria is widespread. You should have a booster dose if your last dose was more than 10 years ago.

Regions known to have high rates of diphtheria include:

  • sub-Saharan Africa (all the countries south of the Sahara Desert, particularly Nigeria)
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Vietnam
  • Laos
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Brazil
  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan

However, the areas that are considered to be high risk for any disease can change. For up-to-date travel information, you can check:

Page last reviewed: 15/03/2013

Next review due: 15/03/2015

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Vaccination schedule

Find out which vaccinations are offered on the NHS and at what age they are needed

Travel vaccinations

Learn about the vaccinations available for travellers, and the diseases they protect against