Typhoid Vaccine

What is typhoid?

Typhoid, also known as typhoid fever, is a disease caused by bacteria called Salmonella typhi. Typhoid is rare in the U.S. — most people contract typhoid from consuming contaminated food or water while traveling abroad. The disease causes high fever, weakness, stomach pains, a headache, loss of appetite, and sometimes a rash. If it’s left untreated, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that it can kill up to 30% of people who catch it, and some people with typhoid may become “carriers” and spread the disease onto others.

What does the typhoid vaccine do?

ID Care offers two types of the typhoid vaccine, one is given as a shot (ViCPS), and the other is taken orally (Ty21a). Both options protect you from the bacteria which causes typhoid.

How many doses will I need?

The oral vaccine, Ty21a, consists of four capsules, one of which will be taken every other day. These capsules should be kept refrigerated (not frozen), and all four doses must be taken to achieve maximum efficacy. Each capsule should be taken with a cool liquid that is no warmer than 98.6° F, approximately one hour before having a meal. This regimen should be completed one week before potential exposure to typhoid. A booster dose will be needed every five years for those who remain at risk.

Primary vaccination with ViCPS (the injection) consists of one dose that is administered intramuscularly, or directly into a muscle. One dose of this vaccine should be given at or before two weeks before an expected exposure to typhoid for maximum protection. A booster dose of the shot is needed every two years for those who remain at risk.

Who is the vaccine recommended for?

While routine typhoid vaccination isn’t recommended in the United States, you should receive the vaccine if you are:

  • Traveling to parts of the world where typhoid is common including Asia — particularly South Asia — Africa, and Latin America (although it’s important to remember that the vaccine is not a substitute for being careful about what you eat or drink)
  • In close contact with a typhoid carrier
  • Work in a laboratory with the Salmonella typhi bacteria

Who should not get the vaccine?

  • Ty21a (oral vaccine) should not be given to children under the age of six
  • The ViCPS (injection) should not be given to children under the age of two
  • Anyone who has had a severe reaction to a previous dose of either vaccine should not get another dose
  • Anyone who has a severe allergy to any component of either vaccine should not receive it
  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot or oral vaccine is scheduled should wait until they fully recover
  • Anyone with an illness involving vomiting or diarrhea should wait to take Ty21a (oral) until the sickness passes
  • If you have HIV/AIDS, are being treated with steroids for two weeks or longer, have any kind of cancer or taking cancer medications
  • Treatment with radiation or other drugs should not receive Ty21a (oral) — instead, you should receive the shot
  • Ty21a (oral) should not be given until at least three days after taking antibiotics

Are there any side effects or risks associated with the vaccine?

Adverse reactions to Ty21a (oral) are rare and mainly consist of abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and rash. ViCPS (injection) is most often associated with headaches and redness or swelling in the area where the shot was given.