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Can tetanus vaccine fail to stop tetanus, or maybe cause tetanus symptoms?


Last wednesday, late at night, I stabbed my finger deep with a sharp and dirty object from the garden. Thursday evening, less than 24 hours later, I checked into an emergency to get a tetanus booster. Since it has been very long since my last shot (never done boosters as an adult, I am now 37), the doctor suggested a full course, and gave me the first shot.

After a local pain, mostly on the second day, which waned quickly, things have been slowly taking a turn for worse. It's now almost one whole week later and I seem to have early tetanus symptoms. The arm where I got the vaccine (not the one where I cut myself)  hurts when I lift it. It's not a strong pain but it's definitely there, in the upper back of the arm. But more than that I am now beginning to worry because half an hour ago I felt like I was clenching my jaws. I stopped but now I can definitely feel some pressure on the little muscles that clench the jaw, the ones that run very close to the ears, there is even a slight pain. The mobility seems unaffected, but I have read that this is a classic early sign of tetanus, and I am worried that either the vaccine is not working, or it's causing the symptoms itself. Should I worry?
1 Responses
3191940 tn?1447268717
Nothing is 100% effective.  Having said that, no, it does not cause tetanus.  There are rare side effects to the vaccine, and if you have deep, aching pain in your arms, you should definitely seek medical attention.  It's not likely tetanus, though.

It is pretty common to get muscle soreness near the injection site, and my guess is that your "clenched jaw" is just you being hyper-aware of what's going on with your body.  Probably has happened to you many times in the past, but you haven't really noticed because you weren't thinking about it.

Only you are in a position to judge whether you're feeling better or worse, but you should always see a doctor if you think something's not right.
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