International travel is more popular and easier than ever. Unfortunately, serious diseases are only a plane ride away as well. Many countries have serious diseases that we simply do not see in the United States thanks to our high levels of immunization. Not only is it important that you are protected during your travels but also when you are ready to head home. Without the necessary vaccines, you could carry home unwanted diseases to your family and friends. Protect yourself, your family, and your community by getting the proper vaccinations before you leave for your trip.
Visit the CDC website for the Travelers Immunization Schedule(s)
Routine, Recommended, and Required
Your destination will determine the vaccines you should receive before leaving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks these vaccines in three categories:
- Routine: The routine vaccines are actually the recommended U.S. vaccines. Be sure that you and your children are up-to-date before leaving. Examples: Tetanus and Diptheria
- Recommended: The recommended travel vaccines protect you from diseases that are more common in other parts of the world and vary according to the region. Examples: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Influenza, Rabies
- Required: The required vaccines are necessary for your entry into specific countries. In these circumstances, your immunization card is just as important as your passport for entry into the country. Examples: Yellow fever and Meningococcal
To determine which vaccines you need, check out the CDC destination website.
When should I see my healthcare provider?
Ideally, you should have an appointment 4-6 weeks before leaving on your trip. Call now. Many vaccines are given in a series and require a few days or weeks between shots. It also takes several weeks for the vaccine to become effective in your body.
We strongly recommend that you speak with your physician if you are uncertain about which vaccines to receive prior to traveling. You also may need additional information if you are part of one of the following groups:
- Immunocompromised due to chronic illness, such as diabetes or HIV
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Traveling with children or infants
Where do I go?
Travel vaccines are available at a wide range of settings. You can talk with your doctor to make sure they can provide all the vaccines you need. Be aware that some offices may not routinely stock some of the vaccines. Special travel clinics offer vaccines and advice. Your local health department is another resource.