Everything You Need to Know About Travel Vaccines

woman at airport with luggage looking out window at airplane
January 9, 2024

Do you have plans to travel out of the country? While it can be great to bring back souvenirs from your travels, one souvenir you don’t want to bring home is a disease like malaria, typhoid, or yellow fever. If you’re traveling outside the country, you need to make sure you’re up to date on certain vaccines to protect yourself and your loved ones from diseases that you could be exposed to. Many diseases prevented by routine vaccination in the US are not common in our country but are still common abroad. Keep reading to find out more about travel vaccines and which ones you may need to get before you embark.

Which Vaccinations Do I Need Before I Travel?

It’s recommended for children and adults to stay up to date on certain vaccines even without traveling. If you are traveling out of the country, you should definitely make sure you are up to date on these vaccinations because you are at a higher risk of coming into contact with these diseases during your travels. It’s important to make sure you have completed your routine vaccination schedule. For most adults, these vaccines include chickenpox, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), polio, pneumococcal, and shingles. Make sure you have also received the current flu shot and COVID boosters. All of these vaccines should be up to date when you travel, no matter your destination.

Are There Travel Vaccines Specific to Different Destinations?

syringe on map of Africa

While it’s recommended for all travelers to be up to date on regular vaccinations, there are also some travel vaccines that are recommended for specific destinations. Depending on the countries to which you are traveling, you may need to get additional vaccines that you have not yet had. For example, a hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for travel to most other countries, and especially those in South Asia. If you are traveling to certain parts of Africa or South America, you may need to get a yellow fever vaccine. A typhoid vaccine is recommended for South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Other travel vaccines you may need depending on where you go could include:

  • Cholera
  • Rabies
  • Meningococcal
  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Dengue fever

If you are traveling to a country where malaria is prevalent, you should get prophylactic malaria medication and take it as directed before, during, and after travel.

How Long Before My Trip Should I Get Travel Vaccines?

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting all your travel vaccines at least four to six weeks before you plan to travel. This gives the vaccines enough time to start working so you can be fully protected during your travels. This also gives you time to get vaccines that may require more than one dose.

Travel Vaccines at Lakeland Drug Company

It’s important to make sure you are up to date on required and recommended vaccinations before you embark on your trip. Here at Lakeland Drug Company, we offer travel vaccines as well as regular immunizations to help protect you and your family while traveling. If you have any questions about travel vaccines or would like to learn more about the vaccines we offer, please reach out to us so you can have peace of mind knowing you’re protected from potentially dangerous diseases.