The reduced-antigen combined diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine (dTpa) is intended for use as a booster dose in individuals aged > or =4 years. A single dose of dTpa elicited generally similar levels of antibodies against pertussis antigens (pertussis toxoid [PT], filamentous haemagglutinin [FHA] and pertactin [PRN]) as a similar monovalent pertussis booster vaccine (ap) in adolescents or adults, irrespective of their prevaccination serological status or vaccination history. Levels of antibodies directed against diphtheria toxoid were similar in recipients of dTpa or a licensed reduced-antigen combined diphtheria-tetanus booster vaccine (Td). However, levels of antitetanus antibodies were significantly higher in recipients of Td vaccines compared with those receiving dTpa. Similar serological response rates were observed for anti-PT, -FHA and -PRN between those receiving dTpa or ap and a similar high percentage of recipients of dTpa and the Td vaccines had seroprotective levels of antibodies against diphtheria and tetanus toxoid. The most frequently reported local adverse reactions following immunisation with dTpa included pain, redness and swelling; general symptoms included fatigue, headache and fever.