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Typhoid Vaccine

What is typhoid?

Typhoid (typhoid fever) is a serious disease. It is caused by bacteria called Salmonella Typhi. Typhoid causes a high fever, weakness, stomach pains, headache, loss of appetite, and sometimes a rash. If it is not treated, it can kill up to 30% of people who get it.

Some people who get typhoid become ''carriers,'' who can spread the disease to others. Generally, people get typhoid from contaminated food or water. Typhoid is not common in the U.S., and most U.S. citizens who get the disease get it while traveling. Typhoid strikes about 21 million people a year around the world and kills about 200,000. Typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid.

Typhoid vaccines

There are two vaccines to prevent typhoid. One is an inactivated (killed) vaccine gotten as a shot, and the other is live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine which is taken orally (by mouth).

Who should get typhoid vaccine and when?

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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.

Inactivated Typhoid Vaccine (Shot)

  • Should not be given to children younger than 2 years of age.

  • One dose provides protection. It should be given at least 2 weeks before travel to allow the vaccine time to work.

  • A booster dose is needed every 2 years for people who remain at risk.

Live Typhoid Vaccine (Oral)

  • Should not be given to children younger than 6 years of age.

  • Four doses, each dose given 2 days apart, are needed for protection. The last dose should be given at least 1 week before travel to allow the vaccine time to work.

  • A booster dose is needed every 5 years for people who remain at risk.

Either vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Which people should not get typhoid vaccine or should wait?

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Inactivated Typhoid Vaccine (Shot)

  • Anyone who has had a severe reaction to a previous dose of this vaccine should not get another dose.

Live Typhoid Vaccine (Oral)

  • Anyone who has had a severe reaction to a previous dose of this vaccine should not get another dose.

  • Anyone whose immune system is weakened should not get this vaccine. They should get the inactivated typhoid vaccine instead. These people include anyone who: has HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system; is being treated with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids, for 2 weeks or longer; has any kind of cancer; is taking cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs.

  • Oral typhoid vaccine should not be given within 24 hours of certain antibiotics.

What are the risks from typhoid vaccine?

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A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Serious problems from either of the two typhoid vaccines are very rare.

Mild Problems (Inactivated Typhoid Vaccine [Shot]):

  • Fever (up to about 1 person per 100).

  • Headache (up to about 3 people per 100).

  • Redness or swelling at the site of the injection (up to 7 people per 100).

Mild Problems (Live Typhoid Vaccine [Oral])

  • Fever or headache (up to about 5 people per 100).

  • Abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, or rash (rare).

What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?

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What should I look for?

  • Any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.

What should I do?

  • Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.

  • Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.

  • Ask your health care provider to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form if you have any reaction to the vaccine. Or call VAERS yourself at 1-800-822-7967, or visit their website at http://vaers.hhs.gov.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

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In the rare event that you or your child has a serious reaction to a vaccine, a federal program has been created to help pay for the care of those who have been harmed.

For details about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, call 1-800-338-2382 or visit the program's website at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation.

How can I learn more?

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  • Ask your doctor or other health care provider. They can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.

  • Call your local or state health department's immunization program.

  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit the National Immunization Program's website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines

Typhoid Vaccine Information Statement. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Immunization Program. 5/19/2004.

Brand names

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  • Vivotif®
  • Typhim VI®

Last Revised - 07/15/2011

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AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.