Typhoid vaccine

(Date: May 2022. Version: 4)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

What is typhoid?

Typhoid is a potentially serious illness that is caught through contaminated food and drink and is linked to poor sanitation.

Pregnant women may be more likely to catch typhoid infection and are more likely to experience complications than non-pregnant individuals. Typhoid in pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage.

Typhoid is common in India, Southeast Asia, and the African continent. Vaccination is therefore usually recommended for travellers to these regions.

What are the benefits of typhoid vaccination in pregnancy?

Typhoid vaccines reduce the risk of catching typhoid, and therefore complications to both the woman and her baby.

Because vaccination against typhoid might not provide complete protection against catching the illness, it is important that people travelling to areas where the disease is common take strict precautions to avoid contact with potentially contaminated food and water. This includes drinking only bottled water, avoiding ice in drinks, avoiding eating raw fruits and vegetables, choosing hot foods, and washing hands frequently in hot, soapy water.

What are the risks of typhoid vaccination during pregnancy?

There are no known risks of being vaccinated against typhoid during pregnancy.

As a general precaution, live vaccines tend to be avoided in pregnancy where there is an alternative. This means that pregnant women will usually be offered an injectable non-live typhoid vaccine rather than the live vaccine which is taken as a tablet.

Are there any alternatives to typhoid vaccination in pregnancy?

For some pregnant women it may be possible to avoid exposure to typhoid by not travelling to certain areas. If this is not possible, vaccination is advised.

What if I prefer not to be vaccinated against typhoid in pregnancy?

Catching typhoid in pregnancy can lead to pregnancy complications and serious illness. There is no evidence that the vaccine causes harm. Women who prefer not to be vaccinated should avoid travel to areas with a high risk of typhoid. If travel cannot be avoided, vaccination is strongly recommended as there are clear benefits to both the woman and baby. A doctor or midwife will be happy to discuss any concerns.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

Pregnant women in the UK are offered a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of routine antenatal care. Vaccination against typhoid in pregnancy is not expected to cause problems that would require any extra monitoring of the baby.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has been vaccinated against typhoid?

We would not expect any increased risk to the baby if the father received a typhoid vaccination around the time of conception.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www.uktis.org

How can I help to improve drug safety information for pregnant women in the future?

Our online reporting system allows women with a current or previous pregnancy to create a digitally secure ‘my bumps record’. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, and your pregnancy outcome. You can update your details at any time during pregnancy or afterwards. This information will help us better understand how medicines affect the health of pregnant women and their babies. Please visit https://www.medicinesinpregnancy.org/Login/ to register.

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General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.



Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

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