I wrote this to another mom on a different forum:
Tetanus is VERY hard to get, and is never found in children. Everyone thinks, "You step on a rusty nail, or cut yourself on barbed wire, and you need a tetanus shot. Right?" WRONG.
Tetanus bacteria are anaerobic, and cannot live in the presence of oxygen. They are found in feces (aka poop) and in the soil. For tetanus bacteria to get into a human being, the human would have to get a deep puncture wound from something that is currently buried in dirt or feces. Rust has nothing to do with it, nor does metal. It's all about the dirt!
If you clean a wound properly, then you're not going to get tetanus. It's interesting, because tetanus bacteria is only found in 30% of "tetanus" infections - the disease is diagnosed by the patient's symptoms. So, what is classified as tetanus may not actually be tetanus at all. (A similar thing happened with polio.)
The tetanus portion of a vaccine contains formaldehyde and aluminum. You can get it by itself (as opposed to with DTaP), but then it contains thimerosal (mercury). The tetanus-only vaccines aren't recommended for children under age 7.
The vaccine efficacy has never been studied in a trial. The CDC says,
|"It can be inferred from protective antitoxin levels that a complete tetanus toxoid series has a clinical efficacy of virtually 100%"
Once a person has tetanus, they can get it again. The immunity (supposedly) given by the vaccine is from the theory that exposing someone to small amounts of a toxin (in this case, tetanus) over time will make them immune or unresponsive to the toxin
This is also from the CDC:
|"Severe systemic reactions such as generalized urticaria (hives), anaphylaxis, or neurologic complications have
been reported after receipt of tetanus toxoid. A few cases of peripheral neuropathy and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)
have been reported following tetanus toxoid administration. Following a recent review, the Institute of Medicine
concluded that the available evidence favors a causal relationship between tetanus toxoid and both brachial
neuritis and GBS, although these reactions are very rare."
That is, although it's rare, the tetanus vaccine can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome and/or nerve pain. (I have nerve pain. It's awful and it doesn't go away.)
This is from one of the vaccine inserts:http://www.vaccineshoppe.com/US_PDF/..._4864_2_03.pdf
|"The occurrence of tetanus in the US has decreased dramatically from 560 reported cases in 1947 to a record low of 48 reported cases in 1987. Tetanus in the US is primarily a disease of older adults. Of 99 tetanus patients with complete information reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during 1987 and 1988, 68% were ≥ 50 years of age, while only six were < 20 years of age."
We all get vaccinated, with a vaccine that has never had a trial, because 560 people got tetanus in the late 1940s.
I wish there were a place where we could see how many reactions there are to the vaccines, broken down by severity, and then how many occurrences of the disease there are (and were, pre-vaccine), and for those occurrences, how many people suffered the various side effects. Diphtheria, for example - there are 5 cases in the US per year. It's big in Russia. Diphtheria is caused by not having access to clean water, and living in cramped conditions.
Anyway, I hope this helps a bit!