The typhoid vaccine can provide protection against typhoid fever, which is a bacterial infection. The side effects of the vaccine are generally mild and resolve on their own within a few days.
Typhoid is a serious infection caused by the bacteria, Salmonella Typhi or Salmonella enterica enterica typhi. It causes high fever, along with stomach pain, loss of appetite, headache, and skin rash. The infection is spread through the fecal-oral route, which means that people usually come in contact with the bacteria after ingesting contaminated food and water.
Therefore, typhoid is more common in those countries where proper sanitation and sewage systems are lacking. On the other hand, the incidence of typhoid is quite rare in countries like the United States, due to clean water supply, and proper sanitation and hygiene practices. However, people can also get this disease while traveling to those parts of the world, where sanitation facilities and clean water supply are not widely available.
Taking these factors into account, the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ (CDC) has advised to maintain caution while traveling to parts of Africa, Latin America and Asia. A typhoid vaccine can offer a high degree of protection against this disease, and hence, should be taken by people traveling to these parts of the world.
Types of Typhoid Vaccine
It is available in two forms; one is the oral vaccine, and the other is the regular shot. The oral vaccine comes in the form of capsules and is a live vaccine. This means that, it contains live, but altered or less virulent bacteria that cannot cause the disease. But it can stimulate the body’s immune response against the bacteria, just like the typhoid shot. The regular typhoid shot is an inactivated vaccine that does not contain live salmonella typhi. Instead, it contains fragments of the inactivated Salmonella typhi. It is administered by a subcutaneous or intramuscular injection.
Side Effects of Typhoid Vaccine
Serious or potentially life-threatening side effects of typhoid vaccine are quite rare. More commonly, people experience some mild reactions after getting vaccinated. The following are some of the most common side effects associated with this vaccine:
✧ Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
✧ Muscle or joint pain
The less common side effects associated with this vaccine include:
✧ Abdominal pain
In rare cases, some people can develop a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. It can produce the following symptoms:
✧ Hives or rashes
✧ Swelling of the face, tongue, and throat
✧ Shortness of breath
Most of the side effects associated with the typhoid vaccine go away within a couple of days without any medical intervention. But, if the symptoms persist for several days, it is better to consult a physician. A severe allergic reaction to this vaccine requires immediate medical intervention. Otherwise, it can progress to a potentially life-threatening condition, known as anaphylaxis.
Things to be Considered
» The oral typhoid vaccine is usually not given to individuals with a compromised immune system and people who have HIV infection, as enough antibodies may not be produced in such people.
» People taking certain medicines, such as chemotherapy drugs, high-doses of corticosteroids, or immunosuppressants are also not considered eligible to get the oral typhoid vaccine.
» People who have earlier developed severe reactions to typhoid vaccines should not go for a booster dose. The same goes for people who are allergic to one or any of the ingredients present in the vaccine.
» Typhoid shots are not given to children younger than 2 years, as they may not produce an adequate amount of antibodies in response to the vaccine. As a result, this vaccine may not be so effective in preventing typhoid in this age group.
» The oral typhoid vaccine should not be administered to children younger than 6 years.
» If you are suffering from a high fever, then it is advisable to postpone the vaccine till you recover completely.
» So far, the safety of this vaccine during pregnancy has not been established. Therefore, it is usually not recommended for expecting mothers, unless the potential benefits of the vaccine outweigh the associated risks.
If you want to receive the oral typhoid vaccine, then you have to take 1 capsule every alternate day till you finish all the 4 capsules. The entire course should be completed at least 1 week before traveling to an area where the risk of getting typhoid is high. A booster dose of oral typhoid vaccine is required every 5 years for people who have a high risk of getting the infection. For typhoid shots, a booster dose is required every 2 years.
Like any other vaccine, typhoid vaccines cannot guarantee 100% protection against the disease. So, even if you get vaccinated, it is important to maintain personal hygiene and drink clean water, to prevent the occurrence of typhoid fever.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.