If you're planning to travel outside the UK, you may need to be vaccinated against some of the serious diseases found in other parts of the world.
Vaccinations are available to protect you against many travel-related infections, such as yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A.
In the UK, the childhood vaccination programme protects you against a number of diseases such as tetanus, but it does not cover most of the infectious diseases that are found overseas.
“Q: I'm going on holiday, what vaccinations will I require?”
A: You don't always need vaccinations to travel abroad. If you do, the type of travel jabs you need depends on which country you're visiting and what you're doing.
You can find out which vaccinations are necessary or recommended for the areas you will be visiting on these two websites:
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.
Read more about the vaccines available for travellers abroad.
You don't always need vaccinations to travel abroad. If you do, the type of travel jabs you need depends on which country you're visiting and what you're doing.
For advice and to book an appointment contact any private vaccination centre our local one is The Exeter Travel Clinic www.exetertravelclinic.co.uk
Not all vaccinations are available free on the NHS, even if they're recommended for travel to a certain area.
Free travel vaccinations
The following travel vaccinations are usually available free on the NHS:
These vaccines are usually free because they protect against diseases thought to represent the greatest risk to public health if they were brought into the country.
Private travel vaccinations
You're likely to have to pay for travel vaccinations against:
Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres. The NaTHNaC website can help you find where to get a yellow fever vaccination.
The cost of travel vaccines at private clinics will vary, but could be around £50 for each dose of a vaccine. Therefore, if a vaccine requires three doses, the total cost could be around £150. It's worth considering this when budgeting for your trip.
Things to consider
There are several things to consider when planning your travel vaccinations, including:
- the country or countries you are visiting – some diseases are more common in certain parts of the world and less common in others
- when you are travelling – some diseases are more common at certain times of the year, for example during the rainy season
- where you are staying – in general, you will be more at risk of disease in rural areas than in urban areas, and if you are backpacking and staying in hostels or camping, you may be more at risk than if you were on a package holiday and staying in a hotel
- how long you will be staying – the longer your stay, the greater your risk of being exposed to diseases
- your age and health – some people may be more vulnerable to infection than others, while some vaccinations cannot be given to people with certain medical conditions
- what you will be doing during your stay – for example, whether you will be spending a lot of time outdoors, such as trekking or working in rural areas
- if you are working as an aid worker – you may come into contact with more diseases if you are working in a refugee camp or helping after a natural disaster
- if you are working in a medical setting – for example, a doctor or nurse may require additional vaccinations
- if you are in contact with animals – in this case, you may be more at risk of getting diseases that are spread by animals, such as rabies
If you are only travelling to countries in northern and central Europe, North America or Australia, it is unlikely that you will need to have any vaccinations.