How long before travelling should I get vaccinated?
In the UK, the NHS recommend people to visit their GP at least 8 weeks before travelling. This is because some injections take a while to fully protect you with immunity against diseases, and also because some vaccinations are administered over several doses, often spread over weeks or even months.
In the US, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people visit their health care provider at least a month before travel. They also recommend to contact the clinic before going to ensure they have the vaccination availability, because some vaccinations such as that for yellow fever is only available at select clinics.
Australian authorities recommend travellers to visit their health clinic or doctor at least 12 weeks before leaving to travel to start planning your immunisation for outside Australia.
For other locations, please check with you local doctor to see what time frame they recommend you to get your vaccinations.
Where can I get my travel jabs?
Where you can get your travel vaccinations will depend on where you are. For example, in the UK, you will have to go to your GP or doctor, whereas in the US you will have to visit your health provider that provides pre-travel health care, often your family doctor or nurse, but sometimes may need to be a travel medicine specialist.
Even in the UK, the NHS will not pay for all travel vaccinations, even if they are recommended for travel, so you may have to pay for some that are not currently provided free of charge under the NHS.
How long do travel vaccinations last?
The period of immunisation will depend on the vaccine and the disease you are being protected against. Whilst some may protect you for life, others may need top-ups, or booster jabs to keep you immunised in the future. Your doctor will be able to provide you with more information about your period of immunisation, so they will be able to keep you updated when you are no longer covered.
How much do travel vaccinations cost?
The price of vaccinations will vary depending on what you are getting immunised against. Your GP or doctor will be able to advise how much they cost. However, make sure you are aware of additional costs such as the overall cost of vaccination, such as additional does that may be required, and also the cost of other charges such as certificates of vaccinations.
Why do I need to be vaccinated?
When travelling to areas that your body and immune system is not used to, you may be exposed to diseases that are easily contracted. Vaccinations provide immunisation and protection against these diseases, so it it important that you get them to prevent illness to yourself, and preventing you from passing and carrying such disease. A simple injection can save you from illness, and can even save your life. If you have recently had surgery, you may be subject to a weaker immune system and may require booster vaccinations to ensure you are fully protected against diseases. However, be sure to check with your doctor about travel vaccinations regarding previous medical and surgical history. You can also read our guide to wellness on a plane, for information about staying healthy when on the plane.
What do the different types of travel vaccinations mean?
In the US, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) categorise vaccinations into three categories.
A category 1 vaccination is described as routine, meaning that the average US citizen is recommended to have this based on their age, health and other risk factors.
A 2 indicates that the vaccination is required for the destination you are travelling to, and the government regulations means you must have had it in order to enter a country.
A level 3 is set at recommended. This means that although they are not vital to have to travel into a country, they are recommended to ensure your health remains well when travelling.
What vaccinations do I need for Thailand?
Although you should follow your doctor’s advice, the following information can be used as a guide to see what vaccinations you will need when travelling to Thailand. For a visitor to Thailand who will be staying in a standard tourist hotel, with good levels of food and sanitary hygiene, people will need to be vaccinated with a diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio vaccine and a hepatitis A vaccine.
For travellers expecting to stay in places with poor hygiene and sanitation, or with prolonged contact with locals, travellers should expect to need Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio vaccine, hepatitis A and typhoid. Travellers may also need to consider the following additional vaccinations, based on the location within Thailand, current disease prevalence and the travellers current health: hepatitis B, tuberculosis, rabies and Japanese encephalitis.
What vaccinations do I need for India?
The guide to vaccinations for India is exactly the same as those recommended for Thailand. Please read the above question to see what travel vaccinations you will need when travelling to India.
What vaccinations do I need for the Philippines?
Travel to the philippines will require the same vaccinations as India and Thailand. Read the FAQ for vaccinations needed for Thailand above to see the guidelines for travel vaccinations in the Philippines.
What vaccinations do I need for Costa Rica?
Travellers staying in tourist hotels with good sanitation and hygiene should expect to need hepatitis A and diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio vaccine. Travellers travelling to more rural locations, such as those with poor levels of hygiene will potentially need hepatitis B, typhoid and rabies vaccination, in addition to the two mentioned already.
What vaccinations do I need for China?
When travelling to China to a standard tourist hotel with good hygiene and sanitation, travellers should expect to need a diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccine and a hepatitis A vaccine. For passengers travelling to rural China will need the two above vaccines as well as typhoid vaccine. In addition, passengers may require injections against the following dependent on the individual and their trip: hepatitis B, tuberculosis, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis.
What vaccinations do I need for Brazil?
The standard vaccinations for all travellers to Brazil are diphtheria, tetanus and polio vaccine, hepatitis A and yellow fever. In addition, travellers travelling to rural locations with poor hygiene and sanitation may be required to have hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies and tuberculosis.