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What Vaccines do I Need?

Please read the following before checking our vaccination recommendations for particular countries, as it will provide the context to help you understand why particular recommendations are being made and why the advice may differ from information you may have gathered elsewhere:

There is no single international list of recommended vaccines for a particular country – there is some variation between the recommendations of international agencies (World Health Organisation, U.S. Centres for Disease Control and national governments). The recommendations I am providing on this website represent my own opinion, based on a consensus of international agency recommendations, my own professional experience and my desire to strike a balance between wanting to protect you against as many diseases as possible on the one hand and not wanting to expose you to unnecessary vaccine side-effects and expense on the other.

  1. Travel vaccines for a particular country can be categorised as being
    1. (mandatory (legally required for entry into a country)
    2. recommended
    3. optional (the disease is present in the country but only a risk if you are undertaking activities outside of those of a resort or guided holiday (e.g. volunteer or para-medical work or trekking/expedition-type activities).
  2. Usually, the only vaccines that are mandatory are Yellow Fever (sometimes – see below) and Meningitis (for pilgrims going to Mecca in Saudi Arabia at the time of the Hajj/Umrah pilgrimage).
  3. Yellow Fever: the issue of whether one needs to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever can cause a lot of confusion. The disease occurs only in Latin America and Africa (not Asia). Do you need to be vaccinated against it? Often, yes, but not always. Two factors will determine if you need to be vaccinated or not:
    1. do you need to be protected against the disease and
    2. will you be asked by immigration officials at your destination country to prove that you have been vaccinated?
    In some cases, although Yellow Fever occurs in a country, large parts of the country may not be affected. If vaccination is not mandatory from an immigration point of view and you are travelling to a non-infected part of the country and not travelling to a neighbouring country that is infected, you will not need to be vaccinated.
    More information on country-specific requirements for Yellow Fever can be found by clicking the 'Country list' link on this World Health Organisation webpage: http://www.who.int/ith/en/ and then scrolling down to the relevant country.

Malaria

Just because malaria occurs in a country does not mean that all or most of the country is affected. Based on your travel plans, I will be able to tell you if you are likely to be at risk.

Malaria is an infection transmitted by one particular kind of mosquito. There is no vaccination shot that protects against malaria. Protection involves measures to minimise the amount of mosquito bites to which you are exposed plus the taking of protection tablets, designed to stop you developing the disease.

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