Help me understand the tetanus vaccine - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-15-2008, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so here's my understanding of getting vaccinated for tetanus. The shot doesn't protect you against tetanus infection but merely reduces the likelihood of a reaction to the toxin produced by the tetanus bacteria, right? And if you get a wound (like a deep puncture wound that doesn't bleed...say, you step on something and the wound closes up around the object) that could be an entry point for tetanus, you still have to get the tetanus immunoglobin injections in the hospital, right?

So wait...if the vaccine doesn't confer immunity from tetanus and you would still require a tetanus shot if you were to be punctured or otherwise injured in a way that's conducive to tetanus infection, what's the point of the vaccine? Is the immunoglobin shot less effective without it?

I know I must be missing something here.

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#2 of 15 Old 10-16-2008, 12:56 PM
 
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I am not sure, but I don't *think* the immunoglobin is ineffective without previous vaccination.

The rest, I am not sure.

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#3 of 15 Old 10-16-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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I am not sure, but I don't *think* the immunoglobin is ineffective without previous vaccination.

The rest, I am not sure.
No. The TIG does not need a previous tetanus vax to work.

When you get a puncture wound, most hospital tx protocols call for giving you a tetanus booster (DTaP for kids, TDaP for adults, so it's really 3 vaxes in 1 shot). The T vax is thought to take effect more quickly if you have been previously vaxed. It could possibly theoretically help ward off tetanus from this wound or protect you from the next wound. If you have not been vaxed, the T vax will not cause an immune response before the tetanuse symptoms develop.

The T vax has never been proven in clinical trials, so it's all just theory based on blood testing.
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#4 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 01:31 AM
 
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I just want to back up what lirpasirhc said.
Based on the levels of tetanus toxoid in the bloodstream, as well as on the fact that tetanus cases have decreased* the T vax is thought to be effective - but not proven.



* There were fewer than 1000 cases of T in the US in 1947, when the vax was introduced. Tetanus is mainly a disease for those living in rural areas. So, when the population becomes more urban, of course tetanus cases are going to go down.


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#5 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So you're telling me that not only does the original, pre-injury tetanus vax NOT protect you from tetanus toxin, but if you are exposed to tetanus, the ER staff will try to give you two unrelated vaccines (diptheria and pertussis) on top of an ineffective tetanus vaccine, PLUS the tetanus immunoglobin? And if you'd never had the tetanus vaccine before, the TDaP wouldn't even work?

And even then, there's no evidence that tetanus vaccines do anything at all?

Wow. If I'm understanding this right, why do we vaccinate against tetanus at all? Why not just wait until exposure via a wound or other entry point and then just dose up on immunoglobin?

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#6 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 03:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
So you're telling me that not only does the original, pre-injury tetanus vax NOT protect you from tetanus toxin, but if you are exposed to tetanus, the ER staff will try to give you two unrelated vaccines (diptheria and pertussis) on top of an ineffective tetanus vaccine, PLUS the tetanus immunoglobin? And if you'd never had the tetanus vaccine before, the TDaP wouldn't even work?
basically. it's rare to be offered TIG (immunoglobin). wounds that are associated w/ tetanus are crushing/burning wounds and deep wounds in the elderly/diabetics. if you feel in those narrow categories, i'm assuming that they would use TIG.

they used to offer TD for adults and children over 7 years of age, but b/c the pertussis vax wears off so quickly, the CDC started recommending that ppl be revaxed at every opportunity - hence the unrelated diphtheria and pertussis vaxes as part of standard wound care.


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And even then, there's no evidence that tetanus vaccines do anything at all?
Wow. If I'm understanding this right, why do we vaccinate against tetanus at all? Why not just wait until exposure via a wound or other entry point and then just dose up on immunoglobin?
i have no idea. it's like living in Wonderland - no logic.
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#7 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 03:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
So you're telling me that not only does the original, pre-injury tetanus vax NOT protect you from tetanus toxin, but if you are exposed to tetanus, the ER staff will try to give you two unrelated vaccines (diptheria and pertussis) on top of an ineffective tetanus vaccine
Ayep.

My mom got the D and the T and the P (I don't know the specific vaccine abbreviation name that she got) after a spider bite. She didn't want to, but the doctor (her regular guy) convinced her that she would only be given the T part, and that you HAD TO have it after a spider bite.

She got it, and was sick for months and months. I mean, at home in bed for weeks sick.

She had had spider bites before, and that wasn't what caused it, it was the vaccine.

She went back in, demanded her file, and there it was, the whole D/T/and P vaccine. Not the tetanus toxoid alone at all.

Awful.
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#8 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 10:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
So you're telling me that not only does the original, pre-injury tetanus vax NOT protect you from tetanus toxin, but if you are exposed to tetanus, the ER staff will try to give you two unrelated vaccines (diptheria and pertussis) on top of an ineffective tetanus vaccine, PLUS the tetanus immunoglobin? And if you'd never had the tetanus vaccine before, the TDaP wouldn't even work?

And even then, there's no evidence that tetanus vaccines do anything at all?

Wow. If I'm understanding this right, why do we vaccinate against tetanus at all? Why not just wait until exposure via a wound or other entry point and then just dose up on immunoglobin?
Sometimes I think the powers that be just want us to be vaxed for the heck of it. You're right, there's not much rhyme or reason to it.

I had a tetanus shot 10 yrs ago. Now I wonder if I got more than tetanus. I'm sure they at least gave me some diptheria,too. I was not given TIG to my recollection. Here's more to boggle your mind-the health department wanted to give me Td. I thought diptheria was extremely rare and not to mention a child's disease but yet they'll shoot me up with it this day and age. So more for informed consent, bc I have a gut feeling they wouldn't have told me I would've been getting some diptheria,too.
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#9 of 15 Old 10-22-2008, 11:32 AM
 
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Well, if there is anything that I've learned it's not to apply common sense or cirtical thinking to vaccines, the WHO, the CDC, or the federal gov't.

You are right on the money though, as far as it not making sense. Anyone with half a brain would realize it's bunk.

Just an excuse to push another vaccine.
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#10 of 15 Old 10-29-2008, 06:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lirpasirhc
The T vax has never been proven in clinical trials, so it's all just theory based on blood testing.
Yeah, some guy in the '30s proposed that x titer level would be protective and its been accepted since then. No clinical trials were done to prove this conjecture.

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#11 of 15 Old 10-29-2008, 06:29 AM
 
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There were fewer than 1000 cases of T in the US in 1947, when the vax was introduced.
Yep. Only 560.

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#12 of 15 Old 10-29-2008, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's another question, then--why is tetanus such a dread disease? I understand it's incurable once you start showing symptoms, and a horrible way to die, but it's apparently really rare unless you live on a farm. Since most Americans haven't lived on farms since the Great Depression, isn't the likelihood of getting tetanus about as good as the likelihood of getting rabies?

Is it lingering fear from older generations, clever marketing, scaremongering doctors, maybe a combination of all of the above? What makes fear of tetanus infection so powerful?

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#13 of 15 Old 10-29-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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Here's another question, then--why is tetanus such a dread disease? I understand it's incurable once you start showing symptoms, and a horrible way to die, but it's apparently really rare unless you live on a farm. Since most Americans haven't lived on farms since the Great Depression, isn't the likelihood of getting tetanus about as good as the likelihood of getting rabies?

Is it lingering fear from older generations, clever marketing, scaremongering doctors, maybe a combination of all of the above? What makes fear of tetanus infection so powerful?

Its treatable.
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#14 of 15 Old 10-29-2008, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Its treatable.
Then in my mind it must be the most worthless vaccine on the CDC's roster, and that's saying a lot. Thanks for the info, everyone!

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#15 of 15 Old 10-29-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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Its treatable.
Yep-sodium ascorbate!
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