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Typhoid vaccine

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Typhoid is a kind of fever caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. It’s a food and water borne disease. The disease is common in developing and underdeveloped parts of the world, like some Asian and African countries. If not treated properly, it could turn fatal as well. Typhoid vaccine is a prevention measure for typhoid fever. This vaccine is often recommended if one is travelling to countries or regions, where the condition is commonly seen.

How does the vaccine work?

There are two forms of typhoid vaccine, viz. live attenuated and killed inactivated.In case of live attenuated, the bacteria are weakened or attenuated. It is made incapable of causing typhoid, but it can trigger the body to secrete antibodies.

In the killed inactivated form, only the capsular protein of the bacteria is retained, which is injected to evoke an immune response.

How is the vaccine administered?

  • The inactivated (killed) vaccine is given as a shot i.e. subcutaneous injection.
  • The live,weakened, vaccine is taken orally, i.e. by mouth in the form of capsules.

Who should get typhoid vaccine?

The vaccine is recommended for those at high risk of being exposed to the typhoid germ. It includes travelers moving into African, Asian and South American countries as well as people working in laboratories and health care sectorshandling typhoid samples or typhoid patients and families with typhoid infected members.

Who should not get typhoid vaccine?

  • Inactivated vaccine shot is not given to children below 2 years of age
  • Live oral vaccine is not given to children below 6 years of age

You need to discuss with your doctor the following aspects

  • If you have a fever or any kind of illnesslike vomiting and diarrhea
  • Is allergic to any component of the vaccine or had allergy with the first dose
  • Infected with HIV/AIDS or have a weak immune system
  • Receiving certain medicines like steroids or cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Planning for pregnancy, is pregnant or breastfeeding

Under any circumstance your doctor will decide whether you should receive the vaccine or should wait, especially when you are highly vulnerable to the infection and have a medical history. It’s important to note that routine administration of typhoid vaccine is not recommended in the United States.

What is the recommended dose of the vaccine?

The dose of the vaccine varies from one individual to another, which would be arbitrarily decided by your doctor.


4 capsules are administered within a gap of two days. The schedule is predetermined by your doctor, so that you can take the last capsule at least a week before your travel date.

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A single shot is given at least two weeks before your travel. If you belong to the high risk group as mentioned above, then a booster dose may be needed every two years.

Are there any side effects of the vaccine?

The common side effects of the shot and oral capsules could be fever and headache. The injection site might swell and turn red for some time. Although not very common; oral pills can also cause vomiting and nausea. Unwanted side effects are generally not encountered. The only risk could be an allergic response.

How effective is the vaccine?

Typhoid vaccine is not 100% effective and its effectiveness wanes away with time. This is the reason why completion of the course with booster doses is recommended. Despite, getting vaccinated you have to be careful about your food habits and take precaution against getting exposed to the germ and its carriers.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: March 21, 2015

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