Travel Clinic

Travel Vaccine Planning

Before traveling to other countries, it's crucial for you to review your vaccine history and needs with your healthcare provider. Do this as far in advance as possible. The CDC advises you to review the vaccines below with your healthcare provider at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel. You'll need to plan your vaccine schedule. Some vaccines cannot be administered at the same time as others. Some need more than one dose. Certain vaccines must be administered as much as one month before you travel to protect you. These vaccines are not for all people. In some cases, certain vaccines aren't necessary.

What Vaccines Do You Need?

The CDC divides travel vaccines into routine, recommended, and required. Your provider will review these with you. They will talk about what you need for your travel plans. Review your vaccine history with your healthcare provider. Adults should have completed the primary childhood vaccine series. Check that infants and children are on schedule with their vaccine series.

You may also need these vaccines:

  • Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) - A booster of the adult Td vaccine should be administered every ten years. Please ensure you have received the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (Tdap) before receiving a Td booster as an adult. After a 1-time Tdap vaccine, get a Td booster every ten years.
  • Pneumococcal - Several types of this vaccine exist. Vaccines are advised for people 65 years of age or older and people at high risk. This includes people with heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, as well as people with lung problems, such as asthma or kidney problems, and includes people who have problems with their immune systems. Talk with your healthcare provider about which vaccine is best for you.
  • Polio - This vaccine is needed if you plan to travel to and stay for more than four weeks in a country where polio is still active. The polio vaccine is age-group specific and should be administered 12 months before traveling. Talk with your healthcare provider to learn if you need to complete the series or just a booster.
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) - People 6 months and older who travel abroad should be protected against measles. The MMR vaccine is advised for people born after 1957 who plan to travel outside the U.S. Talk with your healthcare provider about how many doses you may need.
  • COVID-19 - Because vaccines for COVID-19 are widely available, you will likely need proof of vaccination or immunity before boarding planes in order to travel to certain parts of the world.
  • RSV - A new vaccine against RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) is intended for all patients 60 years old and older.

Other Vaccines You May Need

  • Yellow fever - This vaccine is needed for travel to certain African countries and is recommended for several areas of South America. Specific documentation, such as a certificate of vaccination, may be required. Due to the limited number of Yellow Fever vaccines at our Westlake location, please call our office at 512.306.8360 to confirm availability.
  • Hepatitis B - You need this 3-shot vaccine series if you will be in a place with high rates of hepatitis B. This includes Asia, Africa, some areas of the Middle East, certain islands of the South and Western Pacific, some areas of South America, and parts of the Caribbean, such as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Children who have not received this vaccine before should get it. The booster is not necessary if you had the primary childhood vaccine series.
  • Hepatitis A - You need this 2-shot vaccine series if you are going to a place with a significant risk for hepatitis A. This is true even in urban areas and luxury hotels in those regions. The booster is not necessary if you had the primary childhood vaccine series.
  • Typhoid - This vaccine is needed if you plan to be in places where food and water safety may pose a risk. This includes South Asia, which has some drug-resistant forms, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. There are two forms of the typhoid vaccine. One is a shot that lasts two years, and the other is a regimen of four tablets that you take every other day which lasts 5 years.
  • Meningococcal - This vaccine is needed if traveling to sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia during the Hajj, and other locations during the dry season. The dry season is from December to June. There are two major types of the vaccine. Your healthcare provider will decide if you need one or both based on the type of meningococcal disease outbreaks in the area of travel.
  • Japanese encephalitis or tick-borne encephalitis - You may need this vaccine if you plan to travel during the virus transmission season, spend time in rural areas, participate in outdoor activities, or stay in accommodations without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets. You may also need it if you plan to live in places of risk.
  • Rabies - You may need this vaccine if you will be in rural outdoor areas where rabies is common and may be exposed to wild or unvaccinated animals.
  • Cholera - The risk of cholera is low for most travelers if you follow standard precautions. This is true even if you are visiting places with epidemic cholera. Only drink and use safe water, cook food safely, and wash your hands well with safe water. Check with your healthcare provider or a medical travel clinic if you are traveling to an area with cholera and have immunization concerns.
  • Malaria - Travelers to countries with malaria may be advised to take an antimalarial medicine before, during, or after travel. No antimalarial drug is fully effective, so if you are in areas of risk, you must also combine the use of personal protective measures. These include using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants, sleeping in a mosquito-free room, or using an insecticide-treated bed net.

Many of these vaccines can be administered at the same time. Talk with your healthcare provider for more information about these vaccines and medicines. In certain circumstances, your provider can prescribe medication to treat ailments such as traveler’s diarrhea (Turista), altitude sickness, and more.

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