What every teens should know about the dTp vaccine

>> Narrator:  What every teen should know about the dtp vaccine.

>> Student: So, what does dTp stand for?

>> Narrator: It stands for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. These are the three potentially deadly bacterial diseases the vaccine protects you from.

>> Student: Why are these diseases so deadly?

>> Narrator: Diptheria is spread by coughs and sneezes from an infected person. The bug settles in your throat growing a greyish membrane and releasing a poisonous toxin. This membrane can grow over your airways causing suffocation and death. The toxin can cause serious heart and nerve problems which can also be life threatening.

>> Student: Mmmm, not nice. What about Tetanus?

>> Narrator: Tetanus bacteria also produce poisonous toxins. The bacteria are always around in our environment, but they can’t make you sick unless they get through your skin by a cut, scrape or burn. Once the bacteria get in, they release their deadly toxin causing muscle spasms that can be so intense they make it hard to breathe and even break bones. Tetanus can cause intense stiffness and death by suffocation.

>> Student: Whoa, I’m afraid to ask, but what about the ‘P’ for Pertussis?

>> Narrator: Also called Whooping Cough, Pertussis spreads really easily through the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Pertussis starts off like a cold then causes thick, gluey mucus to coat your throat. It can block your airwaves and make you cough, sometimes so hard and so long that you throw up or turn blue. The coughing can go for months. It most often kills newborn babies who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated and don’t have the strength to cough out the mucus. You are helping to protect young babies who haven’t had a chance to get fully vaccinated by getting a booster dose of dtp.

>> Student: I think my friend’s mum had whooping cough. Is there alot of it around?

>> Narrator: It goes through cycles. When there is a lot of Pertussis bacteria around, they cause whooping cough in people who have not been immunised or people with lowered immunity.

>> Student: I’ve never heard of anyone getting Tetanus or Diptheria. Is it very common?

>> Narrator: We don’t see these diseases often in Australia because most of us are vaccinated. Tetanus bacteria are common in our environment but they need to get inside an unvaccinated person through a break in their skin to make them sick. Diptheria infection still occurs in some overseas countries so unvaccinated people who travel can catch it and bring it back.

>> Student: I think I had this vaccination when I was little. Why would I need it again?

>> Narrator: Well, protection from the vaccine wears off over time. You need a booster injection now that you are older to stay protected.

>> Student: I really don’t like needles. Is the vaccine safe? Will it work?

>> Narrator: The vaccine is very safe and effective. Serious side effects are extremely rare. Some people get a mild fever, pain, redness or a temporary small lump where the injection was given. Of course, getting the needle can sting, but only for a second. Most people agree it beats suffocating on mucus.

>> Student: So how can I get the vaccine?

>> Narrator: Firstly, talk to your mum, dad or caregiver. If you want to know more go to reliable sources together. You can get the dtp vaccine free from your secondary school, your local council or your doctor if you are in Year 7 at school. If you’re getting the vaccine at school, it’s really important to return the signed consent card. Even if your parents have decided against it, the card needs to be returned showing this. For more info on dtp, the consent card and how to get the vaccine, visit immunehero.health.vic.gov.au