When it comes to preventive vaccinations, travelers can opt to get a typhoid shot, which extends protection against the Salmonella typhi bacteria that causes typhoid fever. However, there is another way to get vaccinated against typhoid--taking the vaccine orally. Before you embark on your journey to countries afar, make sure that the typhoid injection will adequately meet your needs for the time that you need to travel.
Typhoid Vaccine Injection
A typhoid injection is a one-dose treatment that contains inactivated (dead) S. typhi bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the typhoid shot lasts for up to two years. If you consistently travel to parts of the world where typhoid is common, such as Africa, Latin America and certain parts of Asia, you'll need a booster vaccine after this time.
Oral Typhoid Vaccine
An alternative to the typhoid injection is to take the oral vaccine, which contains live but weakened S. typhi. The oral typhoid vaccine is administered in four doses that are taken two days apart. The oral vaccine provides protection against typhoid for a longer period of time than the shot. According to the CDC, protection against typhoid using the oral vaccine lasts for five years, after which a booster dose is required.
Typhoid Injection v. Oral Vaccine
The typhoid injection can be given to children as young as 2 years old, while the oral vaccine can only be given to children 6 years of age and up. According to the CDC, the typhoid shot should be given at least two weeks before travel to ensure that it's effective, while the last dose of the oral vaccine should be taken at least one week before travel.
What About Side Effects?
You may experience mild reactions to both types of typhoid vaccines, but side effects are less common in those who receive an injection. Fever occurs in 1:100 people and headache in 3:100 post-typhoid injection; around 5:100 people note fever and headache after receiving the oral vaccine. Around 7:100 people experience tenderness around the injection site after receiving a typhoid shot.
Is the Typhoid Vaccine 100 Percent Effective?
The typhoid vaccine will help protect you against typhoid, but the CDC warns that it's does not guarantee you 100 percent protection against this potentially deadly disease. Travelers should take precautionary measures, including eating hot cooked food, avoiding raw and unpeeled fruits and vegetables, and refraining from purchasing food from street vendors. Drink bottled water--carbonated drinks are safer than uncarbonated--and when eating out, order beverages without ice.