Immunizations and Prophylactic Medications

Routine immunizations

All countries recommend travelers be up-to-date on routine immunizations. Refer to the Immunization Schedules provided by the Centers for Disease control and prevention. 

Keep in mind that some immunizations require a series or spacing for protection (as long as three or six months for a series of shots), so allow as much time as possible for immunization.

Many routine immunizations are covered under domestic health care plans. It may not cost very much money (or anything at all) to update routine immunizations.

Travel medicine appointments

The CDC provides country-specific information about required or recommended vaccines and medications. For medications or immunizations unavailable from a local pharmacy or family physician (such as anti-malarial tablets or a Yellow Fever vaccine), travelers may need to visit a county health department or a hospital/clinic that specializes in travel medicine.

Deciding on recommended immunizations (or prophylactic medications)

Whether or not to obtain travel immunizations or prophylactic medications is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a medical professional and in consideration of one’s medical history, destination, planned activities abroad, potential for exposure and possible side effects. Some prophylactic medications for Malaria, for example, interact poorly with certain prescription medications, so it’s critical to discuss these issues with a travel health professional.

Travelers can save “time, money and discomfort” by reviewing the CDC recommendations in light of their itinerary, exposure and activities, and then if applicable, schedule an appointment with a licensed travel health professional. 

Travel Health Advice

The traveler is responsible for researching both required and recommended immunizations and medication for all overseas destinations. The best resource for this information is the country-specific pages available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers’ Health page.

We advise travelers to print these recommendations and take them to any medical appointments in order to review the recommendations in light of travel activities and specific in-country locations. 

Department of Public Safety

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