Read on for our guide to travel vaccinations, including how to get your shots and which ones you may need for different regions of the world.
It is important to carry out sufficient research before travelling so that you know what you need to obtain and do before travelling. Having your shots/getting vaccinated is something you need to research, as when you are travelling overseas you are exposed to diseases that your body is not used to, and therefore are more likely to contract serious diseases.
In addition to any destination-specific travel vaccinations, you should also be up to date with your routine shots as advised by your doctor based on your age, gender and location you are based in. You should also bring dates, with proof if possible, of your previous routine / travel vaccinations to your doctors appointment so that they are aware of what you have previously had.
Are getting shots crucial? You should always consult your doctor or health advisor before travelling, giving details of the country/countries you will be travelling and staying. However, we’ve put together a guide for some common vaccinations with regions of the world it is recommended for, so that you can start to plan which shots you may need and inquire about with your doctor.
For COVID vaccine info for the US, please visit our COVID vaccine US travel advice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hepatitis can cause inflammation and affect your liver's ability to function. You're most likely to get hepatitis A from contaminated food and water or from close contact with a person who is infected.
Recommended when visiting: All countries, especially in the tropics or those with low levels of sanitation.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus that's spread through blood and body fluids.
Recommended when visiting: All countries, especially Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the South Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Recommended when visiting: This is present worldwide so it is recommended for travel to any country.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu. Risk depends somewhat on the time of year and destination. In the Southern Hemisphere, influenza activity typically occurs during April – September. In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season can begin as early as October and can last as late as April or May. Risk can be increased when travelling as part of large tourist groups (e.g., on cruise ships).
Recommended when visiting: All countries
Recommended when visiting: Present worldwide but more common in South America, Central America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands.
Malaria occurs in more than 100 countries and is a mosquito-borne infectious disease.
Recommended when visiting: Africa, South America, parts of Caribbean (Dominican Republic and Haiti) and Asia
Recommended when visiting: South America, Middle East, Africa and Asia
Recommended when visiting: Some African countries (D.R. Congo Egypt and Morocco)
Recommended when visiting: Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, specifically when travelling to Afghanistan, Nigeria or Pakistan
Recommended when visiting: Africa and the Middle East
Japanese encephalitis is a disease spread through mosquito bites. It is rare in tourists, but important to protect against.
Recommended when visiting: Asia and Southeast Asia, especially if travelling to China, regions of Nepal, northern Burma, eastern and southern parts of India, northern Sri Lanka, northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
Yellow fever is an acute viral disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, endemic in tropical and warmer climates including South America, the Caribbean, and Africa.
Recommended when visiting: All destinations within South America and tropical Africa
Recommended when visiting: Mainly found in parts of Europe such as Russia, Austria, Hungary, the Balkans, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Scandinavia. It can also be found in parts of eastern China.
As well as considering the destination you are travelling to, there are a few scenario's where the nature of your trip will require additional vaccinations.
Due to the geographical location of the Hajj and Umrah and the large number of people present, meaning it can be easier for infection to travel between people, there are a few mandatory health requirements that must be met by visitors to obtain an entry visa for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. All pilgrim travellers are required to submit a valid Meningitis ACWY vaccination certificate in order to obtain a visa.
There are a few other vaccine requirements depending on where you’re coming from: Yellow Fever vaccination and certificate will be required for all travellers entering Saudi Arabia from a country that has a risk of Yellow Fever.
It is highly recommended that all pilgrims get vaccinated against seasonal influenza to prevent the spread of the flu. All travellers should also ensure they are up-to-date with all their routine immunisations, with further recommendations including: Measles, Hepatitis A/B, Rabies, and Polio.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 get these shots 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 the shot 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, getting shots are recommended to ensure your health remains well when travelling.