Typhoid was a major health concern around the world during the 19th century, especially in areas where uncontaminated food and water was in short supply.
Children are more vulnerable to this contagious disease and it can impair their physical and cognitive development. Caused by the bacteria salmonella typhi, typhoid has caused many epidemics in the world. It was only with the development of the vaccine in the early 20th century that the mortality rate due to typhoid fever began to lower.
In recent years, immunization has played a key role in preventing typhoid fever epidemics in the world. Nevertheless, areas that are unsanitary and do not have sources of clean water remain at risk of this disease. Most countries now conduct a compulsory typhoid vaccine for kids to make sure that they are never at risk of these deadly bacteria.
In August 2019, there was a mild attack of typhoid fever in Singapore which caused the Ministry of Health and the Singapore Food Agency to increase the vigilance regarding food and water safety around the city. Prolonged fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea are some of the common symptoms of typhoid which is often contracted through contaminated food. The ministry has advised citizens to thoroughly cook food before consuming and to avoid mixing raw food with cooked food. Parents are advised to practice vigilance in administering typhoid vaccine for kids regularly, as specified by the paediatrician.
Types of Typhoid Vaccines and WHO Recommendations
There are two types of typhoid vaccine for kids available in the market today. One is typhoid polysaccharide vaccine and the other is typhoid conjugate vaccine. WHO recommends that typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) is administered to children between 6 months and 2 years of age.
Studies have proven that TCV is more effective for children when compared to other typhoid vaccines. It also does not require a booster dose. Inactivated typhoid vaccine or Typhim Vi is recommended for children above 2 years of age. Live typhoid vaccine or Ty21a is administered for children above 6 years of age. Both Typhim Vi and Ty21a can be given to adults, under the advisement of a doctor.
When to Immunize Your Child
Singapore is not considered a country that is at high risk of typhoid outbreaks, so the typhoid vaccine is not generally considered a part of the immunization schedule. Nevertheless, it would be a good idea to consult with your paediatrician. Check whether your child requires immunization or not. Also, if you are planning to travel abroad to countries that are considered at risk of typhoid outbreak, you should administer typhoid vaccine for your kids.
Precautions to Take Before Immunization
You must take certain precautions before getting your child immunized for typhoid infections. For instance, you must make absolutely certain that your child is not allergic to any of the components in the typhoid vaccine. If your child has had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, refrain from administering a booster dose. Also, make sure that your child is in good health and not suffering/recovering from any illnesses before getting the typhoid vaccine. There is no need to panic if your child misses a dose of the vaccine; your doctor will be able to recommend the next ideal time to administer it.
Risks and side-effects
Although generally considered as safe, typhoid vaccine for kids does come with a few risks and side effects. Children are known to suffer from a mild fever for a day or two after the vaccine has been administered. If the fever persists, immediately consult your paediatrician. In some rare cases, children were also known to exhibit acute allergic reactions like dizziness, hives, swelling of the face or throat, difficulty in breathing, weakness and high fever. In such cases, do not delay in taking your child to the hospital.
Cost of Typhoid Vaccine in Singapore
The price of vaccinations depends on whether you visit a public health clinic or a private clinic. Compared to the cost of other vaccines, typhoid vaccine for kids is affordable in Singapore. Typhoid vaccine can cost anywhere between $25 and $50 if you are visiting a public clinic. On the other hand, private clinics can charge you up to $300 for a single shot of vaccine. Several comprehensive insurance policies offered in the country often cover the cost of vaccinations as well.
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