Do I Need Travel Immunizations?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Keeping a record of travel immunizations can help ensure boosters are taken when necessary.
Keeping a record of travel immunizations can help ensure boosters are taken when necessary.

When traveling, people often come in contact with different types of diseases than those they’d encounter locally. Some of these diseases are minor and don’t call for any action on the traveler’s part, but other illnesses can be severe, and require steps to avoid getting sick. Whether a person needs travel immunizations depends on their planned destination and present immunization level. Once people know their destination/s, there are ways to determine what shots are recommended.

Routine travel immunizations may include typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines.
Routine travel immunizations may include typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines.

First, it should be noted that certain kinds of travel might not require travel immunizations. Destinations that are close may not require any action under most circumstances. Periodically, most areas have outbreaks of illnesses. A measles outbreak in one city could suggest anyone traveling there, even if only from a few miles away, should probably be immunized. Most often, there are no immunizations needed for short distance travel or travel within most countries.

Additionally, there may be few recommendations for travel immunizations between most developed countries. When countries have similar sanitation quality control and most residents get medical care quickly, certain diseases just don’t appear with any frequency. It’s still important to pay attention to any news reports suggesting a new risk.

People can also determine if they need travel immunizations by searching authoritative sites for current guidelines. Two of the best places to search are sites sponsored by World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These sites offer interactive maps that display which immunizations are recommended in certain parts of the world. Additional information about each immunization is provided by these organizations to help people determine when and how to obtain protection.

To be fully safe, and because some shots may be required by home governments or those a person is visiting, research on travel immunizations should begin three to six months in advance of a trip. This gives people ample time to get what they need. Some shots take a while to provide complete protection or they may require more than one injection. A few immunizations could additionally require booster shots upon returning home.

Immunizations don’t protect against all illnesses, and people traveling should also be guided by safety protocols for being in a particular country. They should know what to avoid drinking or eating, and if there are any activities that are not safe, like swimming in certain bodies of water. This practical knowledge adds more protection, contributing to what is hopefully a safe and healthful journey.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • Keeping a record of travel immunizations can help ensure boosters are taken when necessary.
      By: alexskopje
      Keeping a record of travel immunizations can help ensure boosters are taken when necessary.
    • Routine travel immunizations may include typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines.
      By: Leah-Anne Thompson
      Routine travel immunizations may include typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines.