Travel immunizations are one of those things that need to make your planning check list. Depending on where you plan to travel you might require various vaccinations or medications to protect you from a variety of illnesses. Whether you are heading to the tropical regions and might encounter malaria carrying mosquitoes, or if you are heading to an area where Yellow Fever is prominent, it is wise to take precautions.
The most common vaccinations when traveling abroad can include:
- Yellow Fever
- Japanese encephalitis
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
- Malaria – typically a prophylactic pill can be taken
Many countries have vaccination requirements in order to enter the area. Be sure to check your destination for both required and suggested vaccinations.
PLAN AHEAD! You should try to determine your needs at least 8 weeks ahead of time – longer if you know your destinations. A few vaccination treatments require a series of vaccinations (Like the Hepatitis series). Not only might it take several weeks or months to get a complete series of shots, many times the effectiveness of the vaccination are not immediate. Even if you cannot complete a full series, it is still beneficial to visit a travel clinic or your doctor to see what options you have. In many cases you can at least start the immunization process.
Not all insurance companies will cover your vaccinations because they are not the typical preventative medicine. Check with your insurance to see what they might cover. Some insurance will allow the shots, but they require you to pay up front and submit forms for reimbursement. Be sure to check with your doctor before making an appointment as well. It might be better to go to a travel clinic who will have all the most updated information on country requirements, actually have vaccination products in stock, and can provide you with the appropriate documentation to bring with you to verify your immunizations. There are many clinics that will even offer a consultation session to review your complete itinerary and assess your needs.
The Center for Disease Control has valuable resources for more information on vaccinations. They also provide specific destination information:
Destination info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.aspx