Travel vaccines are immunisations that are recommended or required before travelling to certain destinations. These vaccines are designed to protect travellers from specific diseases that may be prevalent in the regions they are visiting. The types of travel vaccines you may need depend on your destination, the duration of your stay, your age, your overall health, and any pre-existing medical conditions.
Here are some commonly recommended travel vaccines:
- Routine Vaccines
These are the vaccines that are recommended for everyone, regardless of travel plans. They include vaccines like measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP), varicella (chickenpox) and polio.
- Hepatitis A
This vaccine protects against hepatitis A, a viral infection transmitted through contaminated food and water. It is recommended for travellers visiting areas with poor sanitation or hygiene.
- Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a viral infection transmitted through blood, sexual contact, or contaminated needles. The vaccine is recommended for long-term travellers, those engaging in activities that may expose them to the virus (e.g., healthcare workers, volunteers) and those visiting regions with high hepatitis B prevalence.
- Typhoid Fever
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and water. The vaccine is recommended for travellers visiting areas with inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
- Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. The vaccine is required for entry into certain countries in Africa and South America and is also recommended for travellers visiting areas with a risk of yellow fever transmission.
- Meningococcal Disease
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can cause meningitis. The vaccine is recommended for travellers visiting countries in the “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa and for those participating in certain activities, such as pilgrimages or crowded mass gatherings.
Rabies is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. The vaccine is recommended for travellers visiting areas with a higher risk of exposure, particularly if they will be engaged in outdoor activities or working with animals.
- Tick-borne Encephalitis
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system. It is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks, although it can also be acquired by consuming unpasteurised dairy products from infected animals, such as goats, sheep, or cows. The vaccine is recommended for individuals who live in or travel to areas where TBE is endemic, particularly if they plan to spend a significant amount of time outdoors in rural or forested areas. The vaccine is typically administered in a series of doses, and booster doses may be required to maintain immunity.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or a travel medicine specialist well in advance of your trip to determine which vaccines are recommended or required for your specific destination. They will consider your individual health status and travel plans to provide personalised advice. Additionally, some vaccines may require multiple doses or take time to become fully effective, so it’s essential to plan ahead.