Summer is here, which means most of you must have planned and booked holidays, weeks or even months in advance. While everybody is excited to leave the country and tour around the world, what we all forget to consider is getting travel vaccinations.
It is important to visit a travel doctor to protect yourself against the flu or any other diseases which you may be exposed to that are widespread in the country you plan to visit.
Normally people suggest to go and visit a general practitioner to get travel vaccinations. However, it is advisable to visit a travel doctor because they will have the appropriate knowledge about which vaccination or booster is required for the places you are visiting.
Why Are Travel Vaccinations Important?
We believe that the vaccinations we already have are enough in Australia. Many infectious diseases have been controlled for in Australia through various public health measures and widespread vaccination. However, it may not be the same for other countries.
Travelling may expose us to various other diseases which are uncommon or do not occur in Australia. And in rare cases, such infections can be fatal. The people at a higher risk of catching infections are babies, young children, pregnant women, elderly people, and people with weakened immune systems (perhaps due to a medical condition or certain medicines).
Which Vaccinations Will You Need For Travelling?
Each country has different health risks; some may even vary from different areas within a country. We should never forget that there is also potential for a new outbreak within a country.
Therefore, we advise to visit a travel doctor 6-12 weeks before your trip to discuss the vaccination you might need. Some vaccinations may require more than 1 dose which are given at set intervals. This way, you will have an adequate period of time to receive such vaccinations if they are needed.
There are other factors which are considered before vaccination, such as:
- Where were you born
- Previous vaccinations (you may need a booster for them in some cases)
- Past medical conditions or any present illness you may have
- Destination(s), length of stay and type of travel.
There may or may not be a travel doctor near you but we are here for you at Sunshine Medical Centre. And if you do not live close by or work all week, we’ve got you covered! You can make an appointment with us for Sundays or even public holidays.
Are Vaccinations Necessary When Visiting Relatives Overseas?
It is often mistakenly believed that travel vaccinations are not necessary when visiting friends or relatives overseas. It is especially common to think that immigrants travelling to their home country do not need to be vaccinated. However, they are at an even higher risk than travellers as they are often visiting non-tourist places. It is imperative to take the necessary precautions where possible.
Standard Recommended Travel Vaccinations
It is important to be up-to-date with vaccinations if you are travelling, at least 6-12 weeks before departure. Before you travel, make sure that you have received vaccination against measles, mumps, tetanus, rubella, diphtheria, whooping cough, and polio. If you do not, you may need vaccinations against these illnesses and also some specific vaccinations which you may need for international travel such as yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis or meningococcal disease.
Before travelling, check if your tetanus booster is due. Your doctor may suggest you to get vaccination according to the date your last booster was due. The doctor may give you a combination vaccine, which may include tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) or tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio (Adacel Polio).
Is re-vaccination needed for the next time you travel?
Vaccinations provide long-lasting protection for some infections, but not for all. If you travel again in the future, you will need boosters or re-vaccination after a certain period of time. The saying “prevention is better than cure” stands true. Therefore we recommend that you seek expert information to feel safe and well-informed before travelling overseas.