NY Travel Clinic

The Pros and Cons of Getting Vaccinated Before Travel

There has always been much debate about whether one should get vaccination or not. There have been questions and concerns regarding the safety, efficacy and reliability of vaccinates. In order to fully understand immunization, it is important to know the pros and cons, the indications and contraindications and the risks and benefits associated with vaccinations. This knowledge can help people take intelligent decisions regarding vaccinations.

Active prevention of diseases involves the routine immunization that is provided to infants and children for illnesses such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, chicken pox, measles, mumps and rubella. Then there is vaccination that is especially required when traveling. The decision to get vaccinated when traveling is basically determined by the risk or probability of getting a disease that may be prevalent in the destination country.

The biggest advantage of getting vaccinated before traveling is that you are able to protect yourself from a number of illnesses that may be prevalent in certain regions of the world and that are perfectly preventable through vaccination. However, it is important to remember that preventing diseases through vaccination is a lifelong process and protection from a certain vaccination may decrease with time. Therefore, it is always advisable to visit a travel health clinic six weeks prior to traveling. This will allow your travel doctor to review your immunization history and ensure that you are up-to-date on your vaccinations.

It is always a good idea to get yourself vaccinated for common diseases such as chicken pox, cholera, diphtheria, rubella, Hepatitis, HPV, Japanese Encephalitis, Polio, Typhoid and Yellow Fever. Other diseases may also require vaccination depending on your destination country.

Another reason why you should get vaccinated is because there are certain countries that require proof that you have received a vaccination such as one for yellow fever or some that require additional vaccinations. Without this proof, you may be denied entry to the country.

One of the cons of vaccination is that there are certain diseases that that give you lifelong immunity following infection. For example illnesses like chickenpox, measles, mumps or rubella are known to give you natural immunity once you get them but vaccines only offer timely protection.

Another common concern is that there are certain chemicals in some vaccines that some children may be sensitive to. These include aluminium, formaldehyde, mercury and monkey tissue.

Overall, it is important to understand the health risks of traveling to a new region before taking the decision to immunize or not. Recognizing the fact that vaccination may provide more benefits than risks should be an important factor when deciding on an immunization plan before traveling.