Year 7 Immunisation for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Whooping Cough (Pertussis) (BOOSTRIX™ Vaccine)

Year 7 Immunisation for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Whooping Cough (Pertussis) (BOOSTRIX™ Vaccine)

HE Code: 
Leaflet A4
Publication date: 
1 November 2007
Revision date: 
November 2021
Order free copies:
School consent form for parents and guardians, which explains about immunisation of Year 7 students with Boostrix to boost their protection against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis).

Parent consent form

All year 7 students are offered a free booster immunisation at school to help protect them against infection from tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis). This immunisation is also known as Boostrix, 11 year old immunisation and Tdap.

The information below will help you to decide whether your child should be immunised at school. Your child will bring the consent form home from school - to view a copy, download the PDF from this page.

Please read the consent form information carefully and talk about it together with your child. When you have reached a decision, please sign the consent form and send it back to school.

What are the diseases?

Tetanus (lockjaw)

Tetanus is a disease that can enter the body through a cut or a graze. It causes muscles to stiffen and spasm. It may affect the breathing muscles.


Diphtheria affects the throat, making it hard to breathe and swallow. It may also affect the nerves, muscles, heart and skin.

Whooping cough (pertussis)

This disease damages the breathing tubes. Affected children may vomit and find it difficult to breathe when they cough. They may make a 'whoop' sound when gasping for breath between coughing fits.

What is the vaccine?

In year 7 (ages 10 to 12), students are offered a FREE vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. This vaccine is called Boostrix.

In New Zealand, babies (at six weeks, three and five months) and young children (four years old) are given vaccines to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. As children get older, this protection wears off, so year 7 students need the Boostrix vaccine to boost their protection against the three diseases.

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How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine causes the body’s immune system to produce its own protection against the three diseases.

Why is the vaccine given?

This booster dose will prevent the waning efficacy (lessening efficiency) that happens in the years following the vaccines your child received before they were 5 years old. The vaccine will provide protection against diphtheria and tetanus into adulthood for up to 30 years or longer, however a booster dose may be needed if a tetanus-prone injury occurs 10 years after this booster. Protection against whooping cough starts to wane (lessen) after 5 years.

How is the vaccine given?

One injection is given in the upper arm.

What happens after the injection?

Possible reactions

As with all immunisations, your child may have a sore arm, with redness, pain and swelling at the injection site. These common side effects may last a day or so.

Other possible reactions include:

  • redness, swelling, a hard lump, soreness, bruising or itching around the injection site, or a skin rash

  • a fever (feeling hot)

  • loss of appetite, nausea (feeling sick), vomiting

  • general discomfort (feeling unwell, aches and pains).

Serious reactions are rare

Studies have shown serious adverse reactions are rare.

In very rare cases the vaccine has been associated with a nerve disorder in the arm (brachial plexus neuropathy).

The serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis is also very rare, and usually occurs within minutes of the vaccine being given. Every public health nurse is trained and able to deal with such a reaction.

The public health nurse will watch your child for 20 minutes after the immunisation. This is standard practice after any immunisation. The nurse will also give your child a form stating where (left or right arm) and when the injection was given.

Asking questions and reporting concerns

Contact your family doctor, practice nurse or public health nurse if you have any concerns about your child’s health after immunisation.

It is important to report any unexpected side effects after immunisation to your family doctor, practice nurse or public health nurse. If you are unsure about whether a symptom might be related to the vaccine, discuss this with your family doctor or practice nurse.

Health professionals should report reactions that happen after immunisation to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM). You can also report them by emailing CARM at or using the online reporting form on the CARM website:

For more information on the vaccine, see the Summary Consumer Medicine Information or call the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) on 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).

Where can I get more information?

​Contact the public health nurse directly if you would like more information about filling in the parent consent form or if you would like this information in another language.


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Summary Consumer Medicine Information

Boostrix is a vaccine used for booster vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis). The Boostrix vaccine is sometimes called Tdap (tetanus/ diphtheria/acellular pertussis).

The active ingredients of Boostrix are non-infectious substances from tetanus and diphtheria bacteria and purified proteins from the pertussis bacteria. The vaccine cannot cause any of these diseases.

Each 0.5 ml dose of Boostrix contains 2.5Lf units of diphtheria toxoid, 5Lf units of tetanus toxoid and the pertussis antigens: 8 micrograms (mcg) of pertussis toxoid, 8 mcg of filamentous haemagglutinin and 2.5 mcg of pertactin.

Each 0.5 ml dose also contains tiny amounts of aluminium (as aluminium hydroxide and aluminium phosphate), sodium chloride and water. These ingredients are all commonly used in other medicines and vaccines.

Your child should not have the vaccine if they have an allergy to Boostrix or to any of its ingredients.

Your child can have their vaccination at a later date if they currently have a severe infection with a high temperature. Talk to your family doctor or practice nurse first.

Your child should not have the Boostrix vaccine if they:

  • have had blood clotting problems or problems with the nervous system following earlier immunisation against diphtheria and/or tetanus

  • currently have a severe infection with a high temperature

  • have experienced an inflammation/disease in the brain, which occurred in the seven days following a previous vaccination with a whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine • have a neurological disorder that is not stable.

Common side effects may include a local reaction around the injection site, such as soreness, redness, swelling or bruising, and feeling generally unwell (fever, nausea, aches and pains).

Other adverse effects, such as allergic reactions, might rarely occur. These possible adverse effects are listed in the full Consumer Medicine Information and Datasheet available from Medsafe.

If there are any unusual or severe symptoms after receiving Boostrix, please contact your doctor or health care provider immediately.

If your child has any of the following conditions, please discuss the immunisation with your family doctor, practice nurse, or the public health nurse before consenting to it:

  • a bleeding disorder

  • an immune deficiency condition (eg, your child is HIV positive)

  • a brain disease or a disease of the central nervous system, such as epilepsy or a tendency to febrile convulsions (seizures/fits due to a high fever)

  • allergies to any other medicines or substances, such as dyes, foods and preservatives

  • a previous serious reaction after receiving another vaccine containing tetanus, diphtheria and/or pertussis

  • is receiving any other medication or vaccines

  • has never been given a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis or has not completed the full course of vaccinations for tetanus and diphtheria.

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Your rights

The Health and Disability Commissioner's Code of Rights applies to all consumers using a health or disability service in New Zealand. For more information, visit or call 0800 555 050.


Schools may have provided some information such as students’ names, room numbers, dates of birth, addresses and ethnicities. Your school should have notified you before doing so. This information, together with the information you provide on this consent form, is used to help administer this immunisation programme.

Information from this consent form and details of each immunisation given or declined will be recorded on the School-based Vaccination System (or on another system held by your district health board) and some of it will be passed to the National Immunisation Register.

The School-based Vaccination System is a database that district health boards use to record immunisations given at school. The National Immunisation Register is a national database, held by the Ministry of Health. The register records immunisations given to New Zealand children and people on special immunisation programmes.

The information on the consent form, the School-based Vaccination System and the National Immunisation Register is protected by the Health Information Privacy Code. Only authorised health professionals will see, use, or change it. However, you may see your own information and correct any details; if you would like to do so, contact your public health nurse, doctor or health centre.

Public health nurses will use the information on the consent form, the School-based Vaccination System and the National Immunisation Register:

  • to contact your doctor or health centre if they need to check which immunisations your child has already been given

  • if your child has any health concerns

  • to inform the school of whether or not your child has been immunised

  • to help assess this immunisation programme and plan future programmes

  • to refer your child to your family doctor or practice nurse for the immunisation if they missed it at school.

Information that does not identify individuals may be used for research purposes or to plan new services.

For more information about school roll sharing, privacy and the use of information, see your district health board’s privacy policies. If you have any questions about privacy, you can email or contact the Privacy Commissioner’s free helpline on 0800 803 909.