Since the 1940s, tetanus vaccines have been available, but vaccination (tetanus shot) was not always as ordinary as it today. Today, the tetanus vaccine is part of the standard DTP childhood vaccine. The vaccine for tetanus is a toxoid, an inactivated toxin that initiates the formation of antibodies that neutralize the bacterial toxin. Maintaining a good immunity against the disease requires vaccination every ten years; however, many people think that a single tetanus shot during a life time is enough, which is why many people fail to undergo revaccination and become infected.
It is the doctor’s decision whether it is necessary to give tetanus shot to an individual who has a severe wound to provide him protection against tetanus. Typically, there is not enough time to administer the vaccine to create antibodies and stop the progression of the infection, even if tetanus shot is provided as a booster to an immunized patient. Nevertheless, temporary immunity can be given by tetanus immune globulin (TIG), prepared from the antibody-containing serum of immunized individuals.
The physician’s decision for treatment greatly depends on the degree of the deep injuries and the patient's history of immunization . Small injuries with minor tissue damage may not be considered a risk for tetanus. Individuals with large injuries who have received three or more tetanus shot within the past ten years may not take the vaccination because they are still protected. The people with extensive wound but no histories of vaccination or with low-immunity are administered with tetanus shot to provide temporary protection. Moreover, the first toxoid series would be administered to give more lasting immunity to the patient.