The recommended vaccinations may vary from one country to another. For example, yellow fever is found only in South America and Africa, whereas typhoid fever is found in many developing countries globally. Japanese Encephalitis is sometimes recommended for rural travel to Asia. Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for almost every country. The nurse will specify which vaccines are needed based upon itinerary, urban versus rural travel, type of accommodations, activities while traveling and length of travel. Please see the full list of vaccines available under the patient and visitors tab on this website. The travel nurse can offer specifics depending on the countries on the itinerary.
In most cases, vaccination is recommended rather than required. However, some countries require proof of vaccination to enter the country. For instance, a yellow fever vaccine certificate with an official stamp is required to enter some countries. A meningitis vaccine, and sometimes a polio vaccine, is required for travelers participating in the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. The travel nurse is the best resource for advice on this subject.
A patient always has the right to refuse medical care, which includes vaccinations. However, that does mean the patient bears the risk if he or she does become infected. Some immunizations, such as chickenpox, may not be a big issue since many older adults are immune to this disease. Typhoid, polio, and yellow fever, however, can be serious or even life-threatening. It’s also wise to consider that in Third World countries medical care may not be readily available.
A vaccination does not confer immediate immunity. The rate of the immune response varies, but generally four to six weeks before a planned trip is a good time to obtain vaccinations. Some vaccinations require more than one dose, and the doses must be given at predefined intervals. Some vaccines can be given even if your trip is immediate. A visit to the travel clinic is always beneficial.