Diphtheria vaccine: WHO position paper, August 2017 - Recommendations

Vaccine. 2018 Jan 4;36(2):199-201. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.08.024. Epub 2017 Aug 16.


This article presents the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendations on the use of diphtheria vaccines excerpted from the Diphtheria vaccines: WHO position paper, August 2017, published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record (Diphtheria vaccine, 2017) [1]. This position paper replaces the 2006 WHO position paper on diphtheria vaccine (Diphtheria vaccine, 2006) [2]. The position paper incorporates recent evidence on diphtheria and provides revised recommendations on the optimal number of doses and timing of diphtheria vaccination. In view of the widespread use of combination vaccines, it provides guidance on the alignment of vaccination schedules for different antigens included in routine childhood immunization programmes. Footnotes to this paper provide a number of core references including references to grading tables that assess the quality of the scientific evidence, and to the evidence-to-recommendation table. In accordance with its mandate to provide guidance to Member States on health policy matters, WHO issues a series of regularly updated position papers on vaccines and combinations of vaccines against diseases that have an international public health impact. These papers are concerned primarily with the use of vaccines in large-scale immunization programmes; they summarize essential background information on diseases and vaccines, and conclude with WHO's current position on the use of vaccines in the global context. Recommendations on the use of diphtheria vaccines were discussed by SAGE in April 2017; evidence presented at these meetings can be accessed at: www.who.int/immunization/sage/meetings/2017/april/presentations_background_docs/en/.

Keywords: Diphtheria; Position paper; SAGE; Vaccines.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diphtheria / epidemiology*
  • Diphtheria / prevention & control*
  • Diphtheria Toxoid / administration & dosage*
  • Diphtheria Toxoid / immunology*
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Infant
  • World Health Organization


  • Diphtheria Toxoid