Travel Vaccines: The Dos and Don’ts for Arranging Your Jabs

Travelling is an amazing experience; you’ll have a great time. But there are some annoying tasks to get out of the way before you can go. Amongst them is arranging your travel vaccines. The last thing you want to do is fall ill while travelling.

Seeking treatment abroad can be stressful, expensive and disorientating – especially annoying if you could have had a vaccination to protect yourself. To make the task a bit easier, we’ve gathered some of the key dos and don’ts for arranging your jabs. Check them out:

  • Do book early

Generally, you need to get injections done around six to eight weeks before you set off. But don’t just walk into your doctor’s surgery the day before you go and expect to get an appointment.

Put your mind at ease by booking an appointment ahead of time. They’ll also be able to advise you on what injections are needed. When thinking about what vaccinations you’ll need, it’s recommended you think about the following:

  • The country or countries you’re visiting
  • When you’re travelling
  • Where you’re staying
  • How long you’ll be staying
  • Your age and health
  • What you’ll be doing during your stay
  • If you’re working as an aid worker, in a medical setting or are in contact with animals

These factors could influence your exposure to different diseases and illnesses. For example, some diseases are more common in certain parts of the world and less common in others.

hpv vaccine

  • Don’t ignore advised vaccinations

Some vaccinations are mandatory. Others are advised. But don’t assume that means they’re not as important. You’ll be advised to have vaccinations to protect you from diseases you’d be most at risk from, including typhoid, yellow fever and hepatitis. Don’t underestimate the importance of having up-to-date vaccinations. In some cases and countries, you’ll need to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination of Prophylaxis (ICVP) to prove you’ve had it.

However, you might not be able to have a vaccine if you’ve got a medical condition. You’ll need to discuss the degree of risk with your doctor and see if you’re limited where you travel. For more on travelling with medical conditions (including heart conditions, disabilities, dementia, cancer and more), check out Insurancewith’s comprehensive guide.

  • Do talk to your doctor

As briefly mentioned, you can chat to your doctor if you’re in any doubt of what injections you do and don’t need. They’re the experts, so listen to their advice and if necessary, make adjustments to your travel plans.

Doctor's wall

  • Don’t ignore good hygiene practices

Just because you’ve got your travel vaccines – don’t neglect good hygiene practices. A lot of illnesses abroad will be water or food-borne, so can be easily avoiding with good hygiene levels, including the following:

  • Avoiding raw or under-cooked seafood
  • Steering clear of food that’s been left to stand for ages
  • Buying bottled water where necessary
  • Thoroughly washing and drying your hands before eating
  • Avoiding salads
  • Making sure any street food is cooked fresh in front of you

Read about these suggestions and more guidance on staying healthy overseas from IS Volunteers.

Have you recently had any vaccinations? Share your experience with us.