Travel Vaccinations, Don’t Leave Home Without Them

Many travellers are unaware that travel vaccines are not a new concept. In fact, producing a proof of immunization has often been part of the requirement to travel internationally ever since Edward Jenner developed the first smallpox vaccine back in 1796.

What Are Travel Vaccines?

Travel vaccines are specific immunizations given to travelers prior to going to certain areas of the world to protect them from acquiring serious, life-threatening diseases. This definition concerns not only vaccines used in travel medicine today but throughout history, although some of these vaccines are also used by many countries routinely. Technically speaking, travel vaccines can be divided into three general kinds: routine vaccines, recommended vaccines, and required vaccines.

Routine Vaccines

These are standard basic immunizations that are included in most countries’ national health programs. These vaccines are usually given to children but may require booster shots in order to provide effective immunity. Surprisingly, many adults are often not up to date with their vaccinations, and some may have never been immunized at all; thus, travelling is a good way to get this group vaccinated to prevent them from acquiring diseases or from transmitting them.

Routine vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, pneumococcal, hepatitis B and H, and influenza B vaccines. In certain countries, the vaccines for varicella, rotavirus, human papillomavirus (HPV) and BCG for tuberculosis have also been included in routine immunizations.

Recommended Vaccines

These are immunizations given to individuals who are travelling to places where there is a high risk of exposure or contracting a specific disease. These vaccines likewise prevent certain illnesses from spreading to another region or country. Most of these vaccines target diseases that are prevalent in crowded areas with poor sanitary conditions.

Recommended vaccines include cholera, hepatitis A, rabies and typhoid fever vaccines, especially when traveling to Asia and South America. Other recommended vaccines are immunizations for Japanese encephalitis, especially when travelling to specific Asian countries, and for tick-borne encephalitis, when travelling to Russia and the Baltic states.

Required Vaccines

Yellow fever, meningococcal and polio were the only three required vaccines to enter certain countries.Travelers going to the African continent and most countries in South and Central America are required to be immunized with the yellow fever vaccine. Some countries require this, even if the traveller is only in transit through a country where yellow fever is endemic.

When Should I Get Travel Vaccines?

Travellers are recommended to consult a travel health specialist prior to leaving their country of origin. Ideally, you should schedule an appointment with your travel health specialist 4 to 8 weeks prior to your departure since some immunizations need a series of vaccines given over several weeks in order to be completed.

During your appointment, these experts can advise you on specific precautions and administer the necessary vaccinations for your trip. You also need to inform your specialist of your itinerary, including the specific places you will be visiting, the duration of your trip, the activities that you have planned, and the type of accommodations you will be staying in, among others.

Where Can I Get Travel Vaccines?

SanoMed Travel Clinic is a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre approved by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

SanoMed will address all of your travel health needs and offer comprehensive consultations with the latest health information and required vaccines or booster shots for travel worldwide.
Our team will evaluate your immunizations and overall health to assess your needs before you travel. Our knowledgeable doctors and specialised nurses are ready to help you prepare for your travels by offering personalised recommendations and answer all your questions regarding your risks of contracting an infectious disease while travelling.

Contact our travel clinic for all your need-to-know travel information such as entry and exit requirements, health alerts, disease outbreaks as well as additional travel insights.