Typhoid vaccine is a protective measure against typhoid fever, a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella Typhi or Salmonella enterica typhi bacteria. People usually become infected with the disease through contaminated food or water and come down with fever that can develop into intestinal inflammation. Typhoid can have a fatal outcome if it is not treated in due course. Together with proper personal hygiene and the consumption of clean sterilized or boiled water, typhoid vaccine is the best protection against the disease.
Although typhoid is very uncommon in the United States, the Center for Disease Control advised caution to individuals traveling abroad, especially places with the substandard water supply and sewage systems. People who are traveling to Latin America, Asia and parts of Africa are recommended to get a typhoid vaccine, as a preventive measure against this serious infection.
Typhoid vaccine comes as an oral vaccine in capsule and live form, and as a shot, injected by a needle. The live vaccine makes the body immune to typhoid, owing to the presence of altered or less virulent bacteria. Typhoid injections are inactivated and no live salmonella typhi bacteria are found in them.
No vaccine provides 100% protection against the disease for which it is administered. The same applies to typhoid vaccine. In addition, it can have mild side effects which take several days to go away. Most common side effects include redness, pain and swelling at the place where the shot was administered, headache, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, pains in joints, muscles or the abdominal region and increased body temperature. When taking the vaccine by mouth, diarrhea or allergic reaction like hives, skin rash and itch, swollen eyes or face and breathing difficulties, may occur in some rare cases. If these side effects do not resolve on their own a few days after taking the vaccine, it is advisable to contact a doctor. Immediate medical attention should be sought in cases of serious allergic reactions, including difficulty in breathing, and swelling of the eyes or face.
Typhoid vaccine is not recommended for people with a weakened immune system, individuals on immunosuppressants, and those who previously had a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine. With children under the age of 2, vaccine shots are not to be administered, whereas only children which are six years old or older can be given an oral vaccine. As the effects of typhoid vaccine on pregnancy have not been determined, pregnant women are not given the vaccine either.