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What Vaccines do I Need?

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 relevant Irish government agency (the Health Protection Surveillance Centre) does not produce a country-by-country vaccine recommendation list. The nearest jurisdiction that does this is Scotland (through Health Protection Scotland).

The recommendations we are providing on this website represent a consensus of international agency recommendations (particularly Health Protection Scotland), our own professional experience and our desire to strike a balance between wanting to protect you against as many diseases as possible on the one hand and not, on the other hand, wanting to expose you to unnecessary expense and vaccine side-effects.

  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 is the risk presented by it is statistically low in many cases).
  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). During 2014, proof of Polio vaccination became an exit requirement for long-stay travellers to some countries (Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan).
  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.

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