Travel vaccine dose regime
Many diseases that are not commonly found in the UK are still a serious threat in other countries. For this reason, it may be necessary to have vaccinations before you travel abroad. You can ask your General Practitioner for guidance concerning vaccinations or read information about travel health on the World Health Organisation or Foreign Office websites.
Some vaccines have to to be given a set period of time in advance, which is why it is worthwhile to find out specific vaccinations you need well before you plan to leave. Most vaccinations will be accessible from your GP but you can be informed to visit a travel health clinic for certain vaccinations, such as yellow fever. You may have to pay for travel vaccinations.
Which vaccinations do I need and when should I have them?
The vaccinations you need will depend on where you are going. As a general rule, if you are taking an excursion to Europe, New Zealand, Canada, America or Australia, you should not require immunisations, but if you are journeying to sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, South America or the South Pacific, it is likely that you will need vaccinations. Common travel vaccinations include:
- Japanese encephalitis.
- Pertussis (whooping cough).
- Yellow fever.
- Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis A.
Travel vaccination details
Cholera: 2 doses required, 7 days apart; provides protection from 7 days after vaccination for 3 months.
Diphtheria: doses of 3 are required within a 6 month period; provides protection from 2 days after the last injection and lasts for 10 years.
Encephalitis: doses of 2 are required 7-14 days apart; provides protection from 2 days after the last injection and lasts for 3 years.
Hepatitis A: doses of 1 or 2 are required 3-6 months apart; provides protection from 14 days after the last injection and lasts for 1 or 10 years (if a booster is given).
Hepatitis B: doses of 3 are required within a 5 month period; it provides protection from 2 days after previous injection and lasts for 5 years.
Meningitis: 1 dose required, and it provides protection from 14 days after the injection and lasts for 3-5 years.
Polio: 3 oral doses required within 28 day period; it provides protection from 2 days after previous dose and lasts 10 years.
Rabies: doses of 3 are required within 21 day period; it provides protection from 2 days since last injection and lasts for 2 years.
Tetanus: 2 doses required within 42 day period; it provides protection from 2 days following most recent dose and lasts for 10 years.
Typhoid: 3 oral doses taken on alternate days; provides protection after 10 days and lasts for 3 years.
Yellow fever: doses of 1 are required; it provides protection from 14 days after the injection and lasts for 10 years.
As well as having vaccinations you can also take additional steps to try and diminish the risk of falling ill while travelling. These include:
- Taking anti-malarial tablets: often, these need to be started in advance, so ensure you see your doctor in ample time.
- Avoid drinking tap water or unclean water and instead try to drink bottled water.
- Avoid areas where there is likely to be lots of mosquitoes and dirty water, such as swamps.
- Take precautions during sexual intercourse.
- Avoid eating food that could be contaminated and food that has been washed in tap water.