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Typhoid Pills vs. Injection

Updated: Mar 29



In the U.S. there are two options available for typhoid fever vaccination. Typhim Vi is the injectable version and Vivotif is the pill version. Below we discuss some of the pros and cons of each vaccine. Note that either option works for most travelers.


Oral Typhoid Vs. Injectable Typhoid Comparison Table


Delivery

Live vaccine

How long before booster is needed

Minimum age

How long before travel

Oral typhoid (Vivotif)

1 capsule taken every other day for 1 week (4 total)

Yes

5 years

6 years old

2 weeks

Injectable typhoid (Typhim Vi)

Injected into deltoid

No

2 years

2 years old

Start 2 weeks before travel

The typhoid shot protects for at least two years and the typhoid pills protect for at least 5 years.


Pros and Cons of the Oral Typhoid Vaccine

The four capsules must be refrigerated and taken every other day for one week. This can be a bit inconvenient and easy to forget for some people--especially those who are not already accustomed to taking a daily medication.


Occasionally people can complain of some stomach upset and GI symptoms as the pills must be taken on an empty stomach.

The typhoid pills are a live vaccine, so some people complain of stomach pains or general unwell feeling.


The oral typhoid vaccine is recommended for those 6 years of age and older (the injectable typhoid vaccine is recommended for those 2 years of age and older). Being able to swallow pills is a necessity because the capsules cannot be broken open or crushed.


If you are currently taking antibiotics, you cannot receive the oral typhoid vaccine until your antibiotic series is finished because the antibiotics would prevent your body from making an immune response to the typhoid bacteria. Commonly used antimalarials have antibiotic properties, so it is recommended to wait 10 days after receiving the oral typhoid vaccine to start malaria prophylaxis.


The oral typhoid vaccine has not been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. They should avoid travel to areas where typhoid outbreaks are common.


Pros and Cons of the Typhoid Shot

For those who don't take any daily medication, the injection is easier to administer with nothing else to remember or refrigerate. If you have a short window between your appointment and departure date, the typhoid shot is also best because the pills take one week to complete.

The typhoid shot is not a live vaccine, so we would expect to see fewer side effects in most cases. A sore arm or headache are the most common side effects reported.


The typhoid vaccine is not 100% effective, so taking measures to eat clean food and drink clean water is highly recommended.

Talk to a Travel Health Specialist

Ready to schedule an appointment for a typhoid vaccine? Find the closest Away Clinic location here! Get protected, and safe travels!


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