Travel vaccines, also called travel immunizations, are shots travellers can get before visiting certain areas of the world that help protect them from serious illnesses. Vaccinations work by exposing the body to a germs or parts of germs of the disease it will protect against. You can’t get the disease from the vaccine because the viruses or bacteria are dead or severely weakened. The body responds to the vaccination by making antibodies that will protect you if you are exposed to the disease in the future. Travel vaccines are safe, effective ways to help protect travellers from bringing home more than they bargained for.
Routine vaccines are the standard child and adult immunizations recommended for the general population. “Every time we see a patient, we check general routine vaccines,” says Goad, who is the director of USC International Travel Health Services. According to Goad, many people are not up to date on their adult immunizations, such as the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccination, and this is a great time to catch them up. “Because vaccines for diseases that are routine here, for instance measles, which breaks out every now and then, can be extremely common in other countries, routine vaccines sometimes become very important when traveling abroad,” says Goad.
Recommended vaccines are travel vaccinations that can protect you in areas where there is an intermediate or high risk for contracting certain illnesses. They also help prevent the spread of diseases from one country to another.
Required vaccines. The yellow fever vaccine may be required for travel to certain parts of Africa and South America. According to Goad, Saudi Arabia also has a meningococcal vaccine requirement during the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Many travel immunizations need to be given in a series of shots given over a period of days or weeks. Plus, vaccines take time to work. So travel health experts recommend giving yourself 4 to 6 weeks to meet with a travel health provider about how to plan for your travel and to get any needed travel vaccinations. If you are taking medications for a condition like diabetes, there may be certain drug interactions you need to be aware of. For example, some drugs may reduce the effectiveness of travel vaccinations.
Vaccines protect travellers from serious diseases. Depending on where you travel, you may come into contact with diseases that are rare in the United States, like yellow fever. Some vaccines may also be required for you to travel to certain places. Getting vaccinated will help keep you safe and healthy while you’re traveling. It will also help make sure that you don’t bring any serious diseases home to your family, friends, and community. On this page, you’ll find answers to common questions about vaccines for travellers.
The vaccines you need to get before traveling will depend on few things, including:
- Where you plan to travel . Some countries require proof of vaccination for certain diseases, like yellow fever or polio. And traveling in developing countries and rural areas may bring you into contact with more diseases, which means you might need more vaccines before you visit.
- Your health. If you’re pregnant or have an ongoing illness or weakened immune system, you may need additional vaccines.
- The vaccinations you’ve already had . It’s important to be up to date on your routine vaccinations. While diseases like measles are rare in the United States, they are more common in other countries.
See your doctor when you start to plan your trip abroad. It’s important to do this well in advance.
- Your body needs time to build up immunity.
- You may need several weeks to get all the doses of the vaccine.
- Your primary doctor may not stock travel vaccines. Visit a travel medical clinic.
- You’ll need time to prepare for your pre-travel appointment.
- If the country you visit requires a yellow fever vaccine, only a limited number of clinics have the vaccine and will probably be some distance from where you live. You must get it at least 10 days before travel.
Health risks vary from one region to another and over time. There may be new outbreaks and new vaccines may become available. If it has been a while since your past vaccinations, you may need boosters. That is why it is important that you visit your doctor well before your trip to discuss vaccination.
Your doctor will consider factors such as:
- your age
- your vaccination history
- whether you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- any past or present illnesses you may have, and your general health
- the season of travel
- your destination(s), length of stay and type of travel
You may need one or more vaccines for diseases such as:
- hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B
- chickenpox (varicella)
- yellow fever
- tuberculosis (TB)
- meningococcal disease
- Japanese encephalitis
- influenza (flu)
There may be other infections, unique to particular countries or regions, that are not covered in this list. Your doctor can advise you of any other vaccinations you may need before you travel.
All medicines, including vaccines, may have side effects. In the case of vaccines, side effects are very minor and usually go away within a few days. Common side effects are: fever, redness, pain and tenderness at the site of an injection, headache, nausea or tiredness. If you are concerned that you have side effects related to a vaccine, see your doctor.
When traveling to another country be aware your doctor may not carry a travel vaccine and you may have to visit a medical clinic. Many travel vaccines require multiple shots or take time to become fully effective. But some multiple-dose vaccines (like hepatitis A) can still give you partial protection after just one dose. Some can also be given on an “accelerated schedule,” meaning doses are given in a shorter period of time. If you are looking for getting a shot of vaccine during your travel time, unicare clinic is ready to provide you with the best home or on site services. You don’t need to worry about anything because we always make sure our services is safe and based on Indonesia and international standard. See you in our clinic!