How do I get my travel vaccinations?
Preparing for a holiday abroad involves a lot of organisation and planning, and one thing it’s vital not to forget about is your health. While you might be worried about jet lag or travel sickness, there are other concerns to think about as well. Depending on where you’re headed, you may need to get vaccinations to protect you against illnesses local to the area. Keep reading to learn more about getting your travel vaccinations.
How to get travel vaccinations
If you’re thinking about planning a trip abroad, learning about the travel vaccinations you’ll need should be done as soon as possible. It’s advised to visit a travel clinic at least six to eight weeks before your date of departure, but the earlier you can do it, the better. This is because some vaccines involve multiple doses and appointments, and your body needs time to begin building immunity once you’ve had the vaccine. This is also a good opportunity to get up to date with your UK vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine, if you haven’t already had them
To get your travel vaccinations, you’ll need to get in touch with a travel clinic to have the relevant vaccinations administered. Our colleagues at our travel clinic pharmacies will be able to check and confirm whether or not you’re eligible for the vaccines in question, as some conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, may mean the treatment isn’t right for you.
Where to get travel vaccines
Depending on the vaccines you need, you may be able to get them for free on the NHS. This applies if you need any of the following four vaccines:
- Diphtheria, tetanus and polio – this is a combined jab that provides protection against all three diseases
- Hepatitis A
If you are unable to access the free NHS vaccines, you can access the vaccinations for a charge from a private travel vaccination clinic. These clinics can often offer a wider range of vaccinations including those that aren’t available for free on the NHS, including:
- Japanese encephalitis
- Tick-borne encephalitis
- Yellow fever
Not all clinics provide all of these vaccinations, so it’s important to call ahead to make sure that your chosen clinic offers the vaccinations you require.
Is travel vaccination necessary?
Some illnesses are more common in specific climates or environments that we don’t have in the UK. Unfortunately, that means your immune system likely doesn’t have experience in fighting off those illnesses, so when you encounter them for the first time, you can be at risk of more impactful symptoms.
To combat this, getting a vaccination for that illness gives your body a taste of the illness, so that if and when you encounter it for the first time on holiday, you’re better protected against it. This can help to prevent your holiday from being spoiled by sickness. Not only that, but it can help to protect you from developing serious complications that require urgent medical attention.
Not all countries require specific vaccinations, so it’s worth checking before you make your travel plans so you can be sure which travel vaccinations you need to arrange.
How do I know which travel vaccinations I need?
If you’re unsure which vaccinations you need in order to travel safely on your holiday, it’s best to check the Travel Health Pro website tool allows you to search for your destination and view which vaccinations you’ll need to go there.
It’s important to be aware that having the vaccination might not be all that’s needed. Many countries also require you to show proof that you’ve had the vaccine before you can enter the country. This is done with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). Even if this isn’t required legally, it’s a good idea to bring a record of your vaccination history with you when you travel just in case you need it.