Falling seriously ill abroad might not just spoil your trip, it could harm your health into the future. Minimise the risks to your health by making sure you’ve received the vaccinations you need well before your departure date.
Which vaccinations and when?
It’s likely you’ll have been vaccinated against certain illnesses already, so you may not need more vaccinations for your trip. Phone or visit your GP or practice nurse, who can check your notes and advise you on whether your existing UK jabs are relevant and up to date.
Make sure you talk to the GP or nurse well before you leave. Some vaccines can take a number of weeks to become effective.
Your surgery can give you information about the jabs that are necessary or recommended for the specific country or countries you’re visiting. You can also check on the NHS Fit for Travel website.
Common vaccinations by location
Europe: Hepatitis A, hepatitis B. Rabies is recommended.
Africa: Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, malaria, polio, yellow fever. Meningitis and rabies are recommended.
Asia: Hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, tetanus-diphtheria, meningococcal, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever. Rabies vaccinations and rabies protection are recommended.
Australia & New Zealand: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and yellow fever. Japanese encephalitis and rabies are recommended.
South & Central America: Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, typhoid, polio and tetanus-diphtheria. Malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and rabies are recommended.
There is also a higher risk of malaria associated with inland areas and areas of jungle.
Proof of vaccination
Some countries require you to have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before you enter. For example, Saudi Arabia requires proof of vaccination against certain types of meningitis for visitors arriving for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
Many tropical countries in Africa and South America will not accept travellers from an area where there is yellow fever, unless they can prove that they have been vaccinated against it.