If you are considering a trip abroad, before you finish your TO DO check list, make sure to add travel vaccines!
Primary care providers, pharmacies, and urgent cares are usually able to administer routine vaccines with an appointment. Set an appointment with your provider to discuss what immunizations will be important to have prior to your trip. Be sure to make your appointment well in advance before you travel because it can take up to 30 days to build immunity in some cases, you may have a hard time getting in if it’s a busy time of year, the vaccine you need could be out of stock, and/or some vaccines require multiple doses that are spaced apart. You will want to set your appointment at least 6-8 weeks prior to your travel date to ensure you have all the vaccines that you need!
If you do not have a primary provider, you can call your local county clinic or visit our Where To Go For Your Shots page for a variety of options.
If you need destination-specific health advice or hard-to-find travel vaccines such as yellow fever or typhoid, you will probably need to go to a travel clinic. The U.S. CDC keeps an up-to-date list of all Arizona-state certified yellow fever clinics. Below we have listed a variety of travel clinics which are held state-wide in various locations.
Now the question you might have is – What vaccines do I need?
We have provided you with a link to the CDC’s destination page so you can look up the immunization requirements for the country or countries you plan to visit.
While you are at your appointment, don’t forget to ask your doctor to verify that you and your family members are up to date on ALL needed immunizations, not just ones needed for travel.
The vaccines you need will depend on where you’re going, how long you’re staying there and what kinds of activities you’ll be engaged in. Your age, health history, medications and immunization history also factor in. Yellow fever vaccine, typhoid vaccine and Japanese encephalitis vaccine are the vaccines most commonly administered to travelers (see chart below).
The Most Common Travel Vaccines
Yellow fever vaccine
Yellow fever is a virus spread by mosquitoes in Africa and South America. The vaccine is considered to be 99% effective and confers life-long immunity with a single dose. After yellow fever vaccination, you receive a yellow card that shows proof of immunization to any country you might travel to.
Typhoid fever is spread through food and water contamination. It is most common in highly populated areas that lack modern sanitation. There are two vaccines for it–the oral vaccine and the injectable. The oral vaccine is a live vaccine that confers five years of immunity. The injectable vaccine lasts for two years.
Japanese encephalitis vaccine
Japanese encephalitis is also spread by mosquitoes in Asia and Oceania. This vaccine is part of many childhood immunization series in these countries and is a 2-dose series. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is very effective and is recommended for travelers spending over a month in one of these countries or participating in higher risk activities outdoors during a shorter duration of time.
Polio outbreaks have become more common in African countries, so a one-time adult booster may be recommended. The polio vaccine series is usually completed during childhood, but the adult booster is still recommended for those who previously received their polio vaccinations.
Depending on your travel plans, you may also need tetanus, hepatitis A/B, rabies, meningitis, or other vaccines. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have an up-to-date flu shot and covid booster before you go.
Another question you might have is – Why do I need vaccines for my trip?
Health insurance does not usually cover medical treatments abroad. Additionally, after all your flights and accommodations are paid for, you want to be able to enjoy your trip and be healthy. Up to 43-79% of travelers to developing countries fall ill during their travels. Some of these cases are mild, and others require emergency air evacuation to a more developed country.
Some countries require proof of vaccination to enter, especially some South American and African countries. A yellow card, showing proof of yellow fever vaccination, is requested by government officials and you may be denied entry or fined if you do not have a yellow card. Review this Safe Travel Guide on tips and supply recommendations for safe, healthy travel.
Protect yourself and your fellow travelers with up to date immunizations! Have a great trip!
Stay home if you are sick
Avoid close contact with
sick people and wear a mask
Cover your nose and mouth
when you sneeze
Wash your hands often
Clean and disinfect
Stay up to date on your vaccinations