When should the typhoid vaccine be given?

The typhoid fever or also known as enteric fever is a disease of the gastrointestinal system which is a food borne contamination disease and commonly affects travellers to endemic areas. The causative agent is a bacteria called salmonella typhi or salmonella paratyphi. Generally, the infection takes place in 4 phases, namely the incubation period, followed by bacterium, lysis and the fastigium phase. The manifestation in each phase differs from others and infects a wide range of organs from intestine to liver and the brain depending on the severity of the complication.

Prevention is always better than the cure. Thus, the vaccination programme against the typhoid bacteria is a good choice especially those categorized in high risk for the infection. Continue reading the article to know more about the vaccination schedule and its side effects.

Choosing a typhoid vaccine

Basically there are 2 typhoid vaccines available worldwide each depending on the country as well. The two vaccines are the Vi vaccine which is given as a single typhoid injection while the Ty21a vaccine is given as 3 or 4  capsules which are to be taken on alternate days. Other than that, combined vaccination for hepatitis A and typhoid vaccination is also available for those under 15 years old. In this combined vaccination, the protection against hepatitis A lasts for 1 year while protection against the typhoid vaccination lasts for almost 3 years.

The typhoid vaccine should be ideally given at least one month before you travel to high risk areas such as the indian subcontinent, africa, south and southeast asia and the south america. Sometimes if necessary the vaccine can also be given closer to your travel date after advice and consultation from your doctor.

Booster vaccination is also recommended for every 3 years especially if you continue to be at risk of enteric fever. The typhoid vaccine works by stimulating our body to create an adequate amount of antibodies that fight off against the salmonella bacteria. It contains the live sample of salmonella bacteria which is often weakened. However, the vaccine is not suitable for those with a weakened immune system, children lesser than 2 years of age. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be considered first before the vaccination as it is unclear that the vaccination presents a risk towards pregnancy.

Although vaccination is a good choice to prevent the occurence of typhoid fever, it is always advisable to prevent it by taking only clean and hygienic food and drinks when you are traveling to high risk areas. Avoid uncooked vegetables and fruits until you have washed them thoroughly in safe water or peeled them yourself.

What are the side effects of typhoid vaccines?

Just like any other drugs and medications, vaccines also possess some mild to moderate levels of side effects which usually goes off by itself without any emergency medical intervention. However, do bear in mind that not everyone taking the vaccine will show the symptoms of side effects of the vaccination. Here are some of the most common side effects usually reported by patients taking the vaccine.

Some people will have a mild level of soreness, swelling and redness over the injected area which usually goes away by itself. You may also apply hot or cold packs over the affected area and consume appropriate painkillers to relieve the pain caused by the injection.

Apart from that, about 1 in 100 people will have a fever with more than 38 celsius of fever. Other less common side effects reported were abdominal pain, headache, feeling lethargic and sick and diarrhea as well. Severe reactions like allergic reactions and anaphylaxis against the typhoid vaccines are very rare.