Vaccines are as important as your passport when you’re venturing into new places, as you may come into contact with different diseases based on your destination. If you are traveling abroad, remember to consider any health risks in advance and prepare for your trip.
Vaccines can take a few weeks to start working, so make sure you make time before your trip to visit a travel clinic or schedule a doctor appointment to get health advice for the countries you plan to visit. It’s also important to ensure you’re up-to-date on routine vaccinations.
You can also research online and visit the CDC Travel Health website, which gives travel health information and advice for travellers. Depending on where you’re going, some vaccines may be recommended to protect you in areas of risk for certain illnesses, while others are required, such as yellow fever. Many countries require you to have a certificate of your yellow fever vaccine before they let you into the country.
Some vaccine-preventable diseases for travellers:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Typhoid fever
- Yellow Fever
- Meningococcal disease
- Japanese encephalitis
- Measles, mumps, rubella and varicella
There are several things to consider when planning your travel vaccinations, including:
1. Where you’re going
Some diseases are more common in certain parts of the world. The country or countries you will be visiting is a key factor to determine what immunizations are recommended or required for your travels.
2. When and how long you’ll be staying
Some diseases are more common at certain times of the year; for example, during the rainy season. And the longer you stay, the greater your risk of being exposed to diseases.
3. Where you’re staying and what you’ll be doing
A business trip where you spend most of your time in a hotel is very different from a trip where you spend time outdoors. Rural areas generally involve a higher risk, and you may come into contact with more diseases if you’re working as an aid worker or if you’re in contact with animals.
4. Age and health
Immunizations are not suitable for everyone. Pregnant women, babies, and individuals who have had serious reactions to vaccinations in the past are some special cases that require consideration. It's important to consult with a doctor or travel clinic to decide on the right vaccinations for each individual.
Healthy Travel Packing List
In addition to vaccines, you can prepare a list of health-related items for your trip. Depending on where you’re going, your healthy packing could include insect repellent products or supplies and medicines that may be difficult to find at your destination.