Typhoid Vaccine

HealthLinkBC File Number: 
Travel Series
Last Updated: 
November 2014

Travel vaccines are recommended for people travelling to or working in some countries. It is important to talk to your health care provider, or visit a travel clinic at least 6 to 8 weeks before you leave on a trip.

Most travel vaccines are not covered by the provincial Medical Services Plan (MSP), so check with your local travel clinic to find out the cost. Bring a record of your vaccine history to the travel clinic. It is important to keep a record of the travel vaccines you receive and take this with you on your trip.

What is typhoid vaccine?

The vaccine helps to protect against typhoid disease, an infection caused by typhoid bacteria. The vaccine is approved by Health Canada.

Typhoid vaccine will give you some protection against the disease. However, it is also very important to have good personal hygiene and to take food and drink precautions while you are travelling.

Who should get the vaccine?

People travelling to or working in South Asia including Afghanistan, India, Nepal Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bhutan for 3 weeks or more may need to get the vaccine. You are more likely to be exposed to contaminated food and water in these areas. If you are travelling to areas other than South Asia, the travel clinic doctor or health care provider will tell you if you should receive the vaccine.

The vaccine is also recommended for:

  • workers routinely exposed to typhoid bacteria, such as certain researchers and lab employees; and
  • people who live in the same house or have sexual contact with a typhoid carrier.

How is the vaccine given?

There are 2 types of typhoid vaccine:

  1. Oral vaccines (given by mouth)
  2. Injection vaccines (given by needle)

Oral Typhoid Vaccine
Oral typhoid vaccine is given as a series of doses in capsule form. Finish the series of doses at least 1 week before you travel.

Adults and children 6 years of age and older are given 4 doses of the capsule form of vaccine. The vaccine will be given to you to take at home. The travel clinic will provide instructions on how to take the vaccine. It is important to follow the instructions.

The oral vaccine provides protection against typhoid for about 7 years. Consider getting immunized again if you continue to travel or work in certain areas.

Who should not get the oral vaccine?
Speak with a travel clinic doctor or health care provider if you have:

  • had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of typhoid vaccine, or any component of the vaccine;
  • an immune system weakened by disease or medical treatment;
  • a stomach illness with nausea and vomiting;
  • chronic inflammatory bowel disease; or
  • if you are pregnant.

Typhoid Vaccine Injection
Typhoid Vaccine Injection is for adults and children 2 years of age and older.

You will receive 1 dose of vaccine given by needle. You should receive the vaccine 2 to 3 weeks before travel.

The injection vaccine provides protection against typhoid for about 3 years. Consider getting vaccinated again if you continue to travel or work in certain areas.

Who should not get the vaccine injection?
Speak with a travel clinic doctor or health care provider if you have had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of typhoid vaccine or any component of the vaccine.

What are possible reactions after the vaccine?

Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get typhoid.

Reactions to the typhoid vaccine are usually mild and temporary. Possible reactions to the oral vaccine include stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, or skin rash. Possible reactions to the injection include soreness, swelling or redness where the shot was given. Fever and headache are also common.

Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) or ibuprofen* (e.g. Advil®) can be given for fever or soreness. ASA (e.g. Aspirin®) should not be given to anyone under 18 years of age due to the risk of Reye Syndrome.
*Ibuprofen should not be given to children under 6 months of age without first speaking to your health care provider.

For more information on Reye Syndrome, see HealthLinkBC File #84 Reye Syndrome.

It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is an extremely rare possibility of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. If this happens after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number. This reaction can be treated, and occurs in less than 1 in a million people who get the vaccine.

It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health care provider.

What is typhoid disease?

Typhoid is a serious and life-threatening infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi. For every 10 people who get sick, up to 2 people may die unless they get treatment with antibiotics quickly. For those that get treatment, less than 1 percent will die. Symptoms of infection include constipation, high fever, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, dizziness, cough, and a rash on the torso (the body excluding the head and limbs). Infection can also cause serious bleeding in the intestines. Symptoms generally occur 1 to 3 weeks after getting infected, but can occur anytime between 3 days to 60 days after getting infected.

Salmonella typhi bacteria are carried in the bowel movements (stool) and urine of infected people. People who use the bathroom without proper handwashing can pass the bacteria on to others through food preparation or hand-to-mouth contact. Despite recovering from the illness, some people can be carriers of typhoid bacteria and spread the disease on to others.

Mature Minor Consent

It is recommended that parents or guardians and their children discuss consent for immunization. Efforts are first made to seek parental/guardian or representative consent prior to immunization. However, children under the age of 19, who are able to understand the benefits and possible reactions for each vaccine and the risk of not getting immunized, can legally consent to or refuse immunizations.

For More Information

For a list of travel clinics in B.C., visit the Public Health Agency of Canada website at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/yf-fj/clinic-clinique/bc-cb-eng.php..

For more information on travel vaccines, see HealthLinkBC File #41c Travel Immunizations for Adults.

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Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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