Objectives: We aimed to determine tetanus antitoxin levels and to evaluate their relationship with history of vaccination among patients applying to the outpatient clinics of a University hospital.
Methods: A questionnaire including socio-demographic characteristics and tetanus vaccination status was applied and blood samples taken from 218 subjects between 1 and 30 June 2015. Participants were classified into five groups according to their vaccination timing.
Results: The mean age of participants was 46.7±15.4 years and 134 (61.5%) were women. Tetanus antitoxin levels were found weak positive in 54 (24.8%) patients, positive in 44 (20.2%) and strong positive in 120 (55.0%). Tetanus antitoxin level positivity was significantly associated with vaccination timing according to history. Among 105 participants who did not remember being vaccinated or who knew they were vaccinated but did not remember the date, 16 (15.2%) remembered the vaccination time when their injury, military service and pregnancy were questioned specifically. Antitoxin levels decreased with increasing age independent of gender (0.9-fold increase/year).
Conclusion: We found that the booster dose recommended every 10 years was not applied sufficiently. Tetanus vaccination history must be questioned in more detail among people who do not remember/know their vaccination history, with specific questions regarding pregnancy, military service and injury histories.