What you need to know: Travel vaccinations for your next holiday

Jun 07, 2019
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Different countries have different vaccination requirements. Source: Getty

When preparing for an overseas trip, some essential travel preparations can easily be forgotten, including your health. (And if there’s one thing guaranteed to put a dampener on your holiday, it’s getting sick!) 

Before you jet off overseas, it’s important to speak with your doctor who can provide expert advice about health risks at your destination, including vaccines you might need.

According to Australia’s Smartraveller website, “vaccines are a safe and important part of looking after your health” when you travel.

There are no vaccination requirements for most western countries, such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, but adventurous trips to areas in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America are particularly risky if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

So we have done the hard work for you and found the most up-to-date travel information for your trip! (The vaccine information provided below is only a guide, please speak with your doctor or travel health clinic for further advice.)

Asia

When travelling to Asia, Australia’s Department of Health says it’s a good idea to ensure you’re up to date with all common childhood vaccinations, including tetanus and diphtheria, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.

It’s also strongly recommended you get immunised for hepatitis A — if you’re travelling anywhere with unclean drinking water (Southeast Asia particularly) this is a must-have — and typhoid fever, which has unpleasant and debilitating symptoms such as diarrhoea, headache and fatigue and could mean days in bed or even cancellation of your holiday.

Meanwhile, if you’re travelling in rural areas, undertaking certain activities or spending a month or more in the region, it’s also advised you get immunised for Japanese encephalitis, a deadly disease spread by mosquitos throughout Asia.

Africa

If you’re travelling to Africa, one of the most important vaccines to get is yellow fever. Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by mosquitos which can lead to serious illness and even death. Any traveller going to Africa must have a yellow fever vaccination and documentation as it may be requested by Australian or overseas customs officers. Find out more here.

It’s also advised you’re up to date with all common childhood vaccinations, and immunised for hepatitis A and typhoid fever. For certain destinations in Africa, a rabies or meningitis vaccination may also be recommend. Without appropriate treatment, rabies and meningitis are fatal.

Europe

Most people travelling to Europe will only need routine vaccinations, such as the flu, tetanus and measles, however, some regions will require some extra preparation. For example, if you’re travelling to Eastern Europe, particularly Turkey, it’s also advised you get immunised for hepatitis A, typhoid fever and rabies.

South America

When travelling to South America, the following vaccinations are recommended: tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B and typhoid fever. Depending on where and for how long you are travelling, a meningitis vaccination and malaria medication may also be recommended. Meanwhile, the yellow fever vaccination is also mandatory when travelling to some South American countries.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you get vaccinated before an overseas trip?

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