Health Action: Travel Immunizations

The immunizations you will need before travelling depend on your immunization history and the area you intend to visit, although some diseases can be contracted almost anywhere. Wherever you are planning to go, make sure you have been immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, and polio (see Routine immunizations) and have had booster doses if necessary. Before travelling, always ask your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date information. It is not possible to be immunized against malaria.

Immunization advice

The recommendations given here are for adults; you should consult your doctor about travel immunizations for a child. Timings of the doses you receive may differ from those shown here.

Disease Number of doses When effective Period of protection Who should be immunized
Cholera 2 oral doses 1–6 weeks apart 1 week after 2nd dose 2 years People travelling to areas where cholera is epidemic or endemic. Immunization does not provide complete protection; travellers to these areas should pay scrupulous attention to food, water, and personal hygiene.
Hepatitis A 2 injections 6–12 months apart 2–4 weeks after 1st dose 1st dose protects for 1 year; 2nd dose for up to 20 years Travellers to high-risk areas outside Northern and Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
Hepatitis B 3 injections 1 month between 1st and 2nd doses, 5 months between 2nd and 3rd doses After 3rd dose 5 years People travelling to countries in which hepatitis B is prevalent and who might need medical or dental treatment and/or are likely to have unprotected sex while there.
Japanese encephalitis 2 injections 28 days apart About 1 week after 2nd dose 1 year People staying for an extended period in rural areas of the Indian subcontinent, China, Southeast Asia, and the Far East.
Meningitis A and C, W135, and Y 1 injection After 2–3 weeks 5 years People travelling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages (immunization certificate needed), and those travelling to sub-Saharan Africa.
Rabies 3 injections; 1 week between 1st and 2nd doses, 2 or 3 weeks between 2nd and 3rd doses After 3rd dose 2–5 years People travelling to areas where rabies is endemic and who are at high risk (e.g. people working with animals, and those travelling into remote country).
Typhoid 1 injection, or 3 oral doses 2 days apart 2 weeks after injection, or 7–10 days after 3rd oral dose 3 years (injection); 1 year (oral) People travelling to areas with poor sanitation, and those at high risk of infection (e.g. laboratory workers).
Yellow fever 1 injection After 10 days 10 years People travelling to parts of South America and Sub-Saharan Africa.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

Back to top