The importance of getting travel vaccinations before going abroad cannot be stressed enough. International travel can expose you to a number of foreign illnesses that could otherwise be avoided by keeping your vaccinations up to date.
Make the most of your vacation by following a few simple travel health tips.
- It's commonly recommended that travellers receive vaccinations 4 to 6 weeks before going abroad
- Some vaccines are administered in a series over a period of weeks
- Most vaccines take time to become effective in your body
- Review your vaccination history
- Vaccinations can lose their potency over time, so make sure to stay up to date according to the vaccination standards in your area
- Assess risks of disease based on factors such as your age, destination and any pre-existing health conditions
Learn about the different types of vaccinations: What you don't know can hurt you
Routine, recommended and required
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts travel vaccines into three categories:
- Routine: Basic vaccinations regardless of travel plans
- Recommended: Vaccinations that are recommended when travelling depend on several factors:
- Your destination and health alerts in that area
- When you plan to travel (season)
- Whether you'll be visiting rural areas
- Your history: age, health status, previous immunizations
- Required: Certain vaccinations are required per International Health Regulations depending on where and when you'll be travelling
Commonly recommended vaccines
- Depending on where you're going and when, your travel clinic will have advice on what vaccinations you may need to prevent specific diseases common to your destination
- Health Canada has a comprehensive list of diseases that can be prevented by vaccination
Stay up to date
As there are new outbreaks of diseases in different parts of the world every day, a visit to the Travel Health section at Canada Health's website can keep you up to date on global travel health notices.