Typhoid Vaccines: What You Need to Know
What is typhoid?
Typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid fever.
People who are actively ill with typhoid fever and people who are carriers of the bacteria that cause typhoid fever can both spread the bacteria to other people. When someone eats or drinks contaminated food or drink, the bacteria can multiply and spread into the bloodstream, causing typhoid fever.
Typhoid fever can be a life-threatening disease. Symptoms of infection include persistent high fever, weakness, stomach pain, headache, diarrhea or constipation, cough, and loss of appetite.
People who do not get treatment can continue to have fever for weeks or months. As many as 30% of people who do not get treatment die from complications of typhoid fever. There are fewer antibiotic treatment options as drug-resistant typhoid bacteria has become more common in many parts of the world.
Typhoid fever is common in many regions of the world, including parts of East and Southeast Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Typhoid fever is not common in the United States.
There are two vaccines to prevent typhoid fever. One is an inactivated (killed) vaccine and the other is a live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine. Your health care provider can help you decide which type of typhoid vaccine is best for you.
- Inactivated typhoid vaccine is administered as an injection (shot). It may be given to people 2 years and older. One dose is recommended at least 2 weeks before travel. Repeated doses are recommended every 2 years for people who remain at risk.
- Live typhoid vaccine is administered orally (by mouth). It may be given to people 6 years and older. One capsule is taken every other day, for a total of 4 capsules. The last dose should be taken at least 1 week before travel. Each capsule should be swallowed whole (not chewed) about an hour before meals with cold or lukewarm water. A booster vaccine is needed every 5 years for people who remain at risk. Important: live typhoid vaccine capsules must be stored in a refrigerator (not frozen).
Routine typhoid vaccination is not recommended in the United States, but typhoid vaccine is recommended for:
- Travelers to parts of the world where typhoid is common. (NOTE: typhoid vaccine is not 100% effective and is not a substitute for being careful about what you eat or drink.)
- People in close contact with a typhoid carrier.
- Laboratory workers who work with Salmonella typhi bacteria.
Typhoid vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Talk with your health care provider
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of typhoid vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.
- Has a weakened immune system.
- Is pregnant or breastfeeding, or thinks she might be pregnant.
- Is taking or has recently taken antibiotics or antimalarial drugs.
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone typhoid vaccination to a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting typhoid vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
Risks of a vaccine reaction
- Pain from the shot, redness, or swelling at the site of the injection, fever, and headache, and general discomfort can happen after inactivated typhoid vaccine.
- Fever, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can happen after live typhoid vaccine.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
What if there is a serious problem?
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your health care provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967.VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff do not give medical advice.
How can I learn more?
- Ask your health care provider.
- Call your local or state health department.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO).
- Visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/typhoid/default.htm.
Vaccine Information Statement
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many Vaccine Information Statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis.
Hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis.