Whether you’re about to realize your dream of visiting the Caribbean or you’re all set to go on an African safari, the important thing to remember is to get yourself vaccinated. Travel vaccination is important because exposing yourself to a new country could also potentially expose you to new illnesses. The best way to prevent this from happening is to get yourself vaccinated.
Before you conclude that you do not need a certain vaccination, keep in mind that if you are planning to travel, there is a very slim chance that you will NOT need vaccines. There are primarily three types of travel vaccines. Routine vaccines comprise of those that are recommended for the general population. These include vaccinations for measles, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis etc.
Recommended vaccines are those that are recommended to give you protection in areas where there may be an intermediate or high risk of contracting a certain disease. Required vaccines are those that are absolutely essential for travel to certain parts of the world. This may include Yellow Fever for Africa and South America and meningococcal vaccine for Mecca.
Your checklist for travel vaccines must include vaccines for all preventable travel-related diseases including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and paratyphoid fever, meningococcal disease, Yellow Fever, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis. However, to know specifically which vaccine is most suitable for a certain region, it is best to visit a travel clinic prior to travel. Travel vaccinations are generally given in a series of shots over a period of a few weeks. That is why it is generally recommended that you visit a travel doctor 4 to 6 weeks before you plan to travel.
While most travel vaccinations are at the discretion of the traveler, you should keep in mind certain facts. Hepatitis A is very common in Central and South America, the African continent, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Hepatitis B is very common in the African continent, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the South and West Pacific Islands, the Interior Amazon basin, Haiti and Dominican Republic.
Typhoid is common in Central America, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru, Chile, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oceania and Thailand. Malaria is common in Central and South America, Haiti, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Oceania. Therefore, before you dismiss travel vaccinations, make sure you know the potential risks at your intended destination.