Special Vaccine Requirements

Travel Vaccine Planning

Before traveling to other countries,
it’s important for you to review your vaccine history and needs with your healthcare
provider. Do this as far in advance as possible. The CDC advises that you should review
the vaccines below with your healthcare provider at least 4 to 6 weeks before you
travel. You’ll need to plan your vaccine schedule. Some vaccines can’t be given at
the
same time as others. Some need more than 1 dose. Some must be given as much as 1 month
before travel to protect you. These vaccines are not for all people. There may be some
cases in which they should not be used.

What vaccines do you need?

The CDC divides travel vaccines
into routine, recommended, and required. Your provider will review these with you.
He or she will talk about what you need for your travel plans. Review your vaccine
history with your healthcare provider. Adults should have completed the primary childhood
vaccine series. Also be sure
that infants and children are on schedule with their vaccine series.

You may also need these
vaccines:

  • Tetanus-diphtheria (Td). You
    should have a booster of the adult Td vaccine every 10 years. If you are an
    adult and have not yet had a Td booster with the pertussis (whooping cough)
    vaccine
    (Tdap), you should get that shot first.
    After a 1-time Tdap vaccine, get a Td booster every 10 years.
  • Influenza (flu). A yearly vaccine is advised by the CDC for
    everyone age 6 months and older.

  • Pneumococcal. a There are several types of this
    vaccine. A vaccine is advised for people 65 years or older and for other
    people at high risk. This includes people with heart disease, cancer, or
    diabetes. It includes people with lung problems such as asthma, or kidney
    problems. And it includes people who have problems with their immune system.
    Talk with your healthcare provider about which vaccine is best for you.

  • Polio. You’ll need this if you
    plan to travel to and stay for more than 4 weeks in a country where polio is
    still active. this is true for babies, children, and adults. Each should get a
    polio vaccine for their age group, or a polio booster within 12 months before
    travel.
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). People 6 months of age and older who
    travel abroad should be protected against measles. The MMR vaccine is
    advised for people born after 1957 who plan to travel outside the U.S. Talk
    with your healthcare provider about how many doses you may need.

Other vaccines you may need

  • Yellow fever. You need this
    vaccine for travel to some countries in Africa. And it’s advised for several
    places in South America. You may need a certificate of vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B. You need this
    vaccine if you will be in a place that has high rates of hepatitis B. This
    includes Asia, Africa, and some areas of the Middle East. It includes the
    islands of the South and Western Pacific. And it includes some areas of South
    America, and some parts of the Caribbean, such as the Dominican Republic and
    Haiti. Children who have not had this vaccine before should get it. If you had
    the primary childhood vaccine series, you don’t need a booster.
  • Hepatitis A. You need this
    vaccine if you are going to a place where there is major risk for hepatitis A.
    This is true even if you are staying in urban areas and luxury hotels in those
    regions. If you had the primary childhood vaccine series, you don’t need a
    booster.
  • Typhoid. You need this vaccine
    if you will be in places where food and water safety may be a problem. This
    includes South Asia, which has some drug-resistant forms, and in Asia, Africa,
    and Central and South America.
  • Meningococcal. You need this
    vaccine if you are going to sub-Saharan Africa during the dry season. The dry
    season is December to June. It’s needed for visitors to Saudi Arabia during the
    Hajj. There are 2 major types of the vaccine. Your healthcare provider will
    decide if you need 1 or both. This will be based on the type of meningococcal
    disease outbreaks in your area of travel.
  • Japanese encephalitis or
    tick-borne encephalitis. You may need this vaccine
    if you will be on a long trip or you plan to live in places of risk. This
    includes rural farming areas.
  • Rabies. You may need this
    vaccine if you will be in rural outdoor areas where rabies is common and you may
    be exposed to wild animals.
  • Cholera. The risk for cholera is
    very low for most travelers if you follow standard precautions. This is true
    even if you are visiting places with epidemic cholera. You should only drink and
    use safe water, cook foods safely, and wash your hands well with safe water. A
    single-dose oral cholera vaccine is approved in the U.S. for travelers to places
    where cholera is active. If you are going to such an area, talk with your
    healthcare provider. Ask you should get the cholera vaccine before travel.
  • Malaria. There is no vaccine for
    malaria. But travelers to countries with malaria are advised to take an
    antimalarial medicine. None of the medicines are fully effective. So if you are
    in areas of risk, you must also use more kinds of protection. These include
    using insect repellent, and wearing long sleeves and long pants. You will need
    to sleep in a mosquito-free room or using an insecticide-treated bed net.

Many of these vaccines can be
given at the same time. Talk with your healthcare provider for more information
about these vaccines and medicines.