DTP vs. DTaP


Reena and Sheela have just come back from health centres after getting their 6 weeks babies vaccinated. They had both gone for DTP vaccinations. Reena’s baby was given Easy-five vaccine , while Sheela’s baby was given Pentaxim. Reena is not sure of the difference. Sheela tell her what her doctor explained and why she chose Pentaxim. Sheela’s doctor told her the following :



DTP or DTaP vaccines both stand for 3 diseases – Diptheria, Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and Tetanus. DTP and DTaP differ in pertussis vaccine. DTP has cellular pertussis vaccine while DTaP contains acellular pertussis vaccine. DTP has been in use many years, but is also infamous for its side-effects. A lot of kids suffer from high fever, soreness in injection-site and irritability.

The reason pertussis vaccine was associated with fever and irritability was because it was composed of dead version of the bacteria that causes pertussis. The vaccine contained all the parts of the dead bacteria and thus was called the “whole-cell” vaccine. However, researchers soon realized that perhaps a better vaccine would be one that included those parts of the bacteria which allow for the body to become immune but leave out other parts that cause the fever and irritability. This resulted in the development of acellular vaccine. The word acellular describes the fact that this vaccine does not contain the “whole” bacteria cell but rather only the parts of the cell that allow for the body to develop immunity against the disease. So, the name DTP was modified for this acellular vaccine and called the DTaP. The “a” stands for acellular.




DTP vaccine is also called as Easy-five , while DTaP is called as Pentaxim.  Let us see how the two differ :

When you go to the health center to get your baby vaccinated, you will be given an option choose between Easy-five or Pentaxim vaccine. Easy-five and pentaxim both give protection against 5 diseases.




Vaccine name is Easy-five

Vaccine name is Pentaxim

DTP stands for Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertusis

DTaP stands for Diptheria, Tetanus and acellular Pertusis

Easy-five covers Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis ( cellular component), haemophilus Influenza type b and Hepatitis B.

Pentaxim covers Diptheria, Whooping cough , Tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type b and IPV (injectable polio vaccine).

Protection offered is similar, but DTP has side-effects like fever and irritability

DTaP does not have these side-effects.

DTP is less expensive

DTaP is more expensive.


It is upto you to decide which vaccine to administer depending on all these factors. If you go for Easy-five, baby should be given oral polio vaccine, while in case of pentaxim hepatitis-B vaccine must be administered separately.


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