Countries set various strict regulations for tourists. One of these rules is that tourists must be vaccinated before entering the country. Although the exact vaccinations may differ depending on where you are going, rest assured you need some types of vaccinations.

 But, apart from being a regulation, travel vaccines are also for your safety. Remember that you may get exposed to some illnesses which can be fatal if you are unvaccinated.

What Are Travel Vaccines?

 Travel vaccinations, also called immunizations, are medical shots designed for travellers who plan on visiting certain places. They help protect them from severe illness. Vaccinations expose the body to germs causing a specific disease and protect one against infections. So one can’t get the disease as the vaccine severely weakens the bacteria or virus. Travel vaccines help protect tourists and prevent them from contracting and spreading diseases.

 Do You Need a Travel Vaccine?

 Almost all travel circumstances will need you to be vaccinated. However, the difference is the type of vaccine you need. Generally, travel vaccinations are categorised into; 

·       Routine vaccines- these are the standard vaccines for both children and adults. These vaccines protect one from routine diseases like measles that tend to break out frequently. Most countries will need you to provide a certificate for routine vaccines. 

·       Recommended vaccines- these are advised to travellers when visiting areas that are at risk of certain illnesses. They help prevent contracting and spreading diseases from and to different countries.

·       Required vaccines- these are the types needed to visit certain parts of the world. For instance, if you are travelling to some areas of Africa, you’ll need to take the yellow fever vaccines, while Saudi Arabia requires visitors to be vaccinated against meningococcal if visiting during the hajj. 

How to Decide the Travel Vaccines You Need?

 The type of vaccines you need depends on various factors like your health, where you are travelling to, and whether you have been vaccinated before. Here are some things to consider before taking a travel vaccine; 

·       The Risk of Contacting a Preventable Disease 

If you are at a higher risk of acquiring a specific disease prominent in the area you travel to, it is better to be vaccinated. Research to determine whether your destination country requires you to be vaccinated for a travel-related sickness. Also, determine whether there are any outbreaks or epidemics among the local population and whether there are reports saying travellers returned with a preventable disease after visiting the area. 

·       The Reason for Your Travel 

What you are going to do in a country influences your exposure to travel-related sickness. For instance, if you are going on a vacation, you’ll probably visit different destinations in a country. But this increases your risk of contracting a disease compared to someone who goes for a business trip and stays in one location the whole time. 

·       How Long You Will Stay 

The longer you stay in a place, the higher the risk of acquiring a travel-related illness. If you are going for more than six weeks in a place, the chances of getting an infection are higher than someone who is only visiting for a week. Additionally, it’s wise to consider the season you’re travelling. For instance, the risk of Japanese Encephalitis increases during rainy weather. 

·       The Time You Have Before Your Departure 

Travel vaccines usually come in series, meaning one must take more than one shot to boost immunity. It’s usually recommended to start getting the vaccines at least 4-6 weeks before your scheduled travel date to ensure you get all the shots you need and allow your immune system to build enough antibodies.

 But, if you don’t have time, talk to a healthcare practitioner and see whether they can schedule a last minute vaccine.

What Are the Side Effects of Travel Vaccines?

 Travel vaccines, like all medicines, produce some side effects. However, the effects are mild in this case and will go away even without treatment. Some of the things you may experience include fever, headaches, joint/muscle pain, fatigue, and nausea. If you experience severe side effects, please contact a doctor.