Need travel vaccines? Plan ahead!

Reviewed by: Emmy Feeler, MSN, APRN
Written by: Abbi Havens

Packing your bags and headed for a beautiful and far-away land this summer? Lucky you! Unfortunately, you’ll bring home more than a souvenir if you aren’t prepared with the proper travel vaccinations (and routine vaccinations) to accompany your travel itinerary. No matter what continent you land on, do your due diligence and be prepared so you can reminisce on nothing more than memories of your vacation. Be sure to get the following vaccinations at least four to six weeks prior to your departure to allow for maximum efficacy and multiple doses when required.

Europe

To no one’s surprise, Europe is ranked the most-visited continent by a landslide thanks to its wide array of landscapes, architecture, culture and food. However, many visitors don’t realize that you should be up to date on vaccinations when traveling to Europe. Certain countries recommend travel vaccinations including:

  • France: hepatitis A, hepatitis B and rabies
  • Germany: MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • Russia: Hepatitis A and Japanese Encephalitis

Although Turkey is not a European country, many European travelers make their way to Turkey as they travel the Mediterranean. To visit Turkey, be sure you are up to date on your typhoid and rabies vaccines.

Africa

From the Great Pyramids to the penguins of Cape Town, the continent is loaded with popular travel destinations. Stay safe (especially from those pesky mosquitos) with these travel vaccinations:

  • TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis): Airborne and spread through wounds
  • Hepatitis A: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • Hepatitis B: spreads through contaminated bodily fluids and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Typhoid: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Cholera: spreads through contaminated food and water and may be recommended based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Yellow fever: mosquito-borne and may be recommended or required based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Rabies: spreads through infected animals and is recommended for long-term travelers who may come into contact with animals.
  • *Polio: spreads through infected animals and required for some regions in the Middle East.

Malaria presents a major health threat in many African countries. Be sure to use mosquito repellant, netting and antimalarials! Many countries require proof of a yellow fever vaccination upon entry.

South and Central America

From Tulum to Antarctica, Central and South America is home to a number of popular travel destinations and continues to grow in popularity. But before you hit the hiking trails or the beach, the following travel vaccinations are recommended:

  • Hepatitis A: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • Hepatitis B: spreads through contaminated bodily fluids and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Typhoid: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Cholera: spreads through contaminated food and water and may be recommended based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Yellow fever: mosquito-borne and may be recommended or required based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Rabies: spreads through infected animals and is recommended for long-term travelers who may come into contact with animals.

Depending on the specific countries and sites you plan to visit, you may be required to present proof of a yellow fever vaccination. Although the threat of zika virus in Central and South America is dwindling, it is still present. There is no vaccine to prevent zika, so be sure to use mosquito repellant and netting, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitos are most active.

Asia

Asia is the second-most visited continent and the world, and with its beautiful islands, lush greenery, and diverse culture, we can see why. Stay safe on your vacation in Asia with the following vaccinations:

  • Hepatitis A: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • Hepatitis B: spreads through contaminated bodily fluids and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Typhoid: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Cholera: spreads through contaminated food and water and may be recommended based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Yellow fever: mosquito-borne and may be recommended or required based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Rabies: spreads through infected animals and is recommended for long-term travelers who may come into contact with animals.
  • *Polio: spreads through infected animals and required for some regions in the Middle East.
  • *Japanese Encephalitis: mosquito-borne, recommended in most countries and highly recommended for certain itineraries.
  • **Anthrax: spreads through infected animals or biological agents and is required for certain travelers including government personnel.

The Middle East

The Middle East is full of rich history, architecture, religious destinations and culture. To safely enjoy your Middle Eastern Vacation to its fullest, be prepared with the following travel vaccinations:

  • Hepatitis A: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • Hepatitis B: spreads through contaminated bodily fluids and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Typhoid: spreads through contaminated food and water and is recommended for all travel regions.
  • *Cholera: spreads through contaminated food and water and may be recommended based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Yellow fever: mosquito-borne and may be recommended or required based on the regions you plan to visit.
  • *Rabies: spreads through infected animals and is recommended for long-term travelers who may come into contact with animals.
  • *Meningitis: spreads through airborne or direct contact and is required for travel to the Hajj in Mecca.
  • *Polio: spreads through infected animals and required for some regions in the Middle East.
  • **Anthrax: spreads through infected animals or biological agents and is required for certain travelers including government personnel.

Saudi Arabia requires proof of an updated meningitis vaccination for entry during Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to the city of Mecca that draws millions of people each year. Proof of a yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into many regions in the Middle East. Several cases of polio were reported in the Middle East in the last few years, so don’t neglect your polio vaccination!

At UT Health Austin, we want you to enjoy your vacation without bringing home any unwanted visitors (sorry polio, you’re not welcome here). Make an appointment at the WorkLife clinic and our travel health staff will advise you on travel safety and vaccinations. Safe travels!

*Prescription provided as needed.

**Not offered by UT Health Austin. Our staff is happy to connect you with a provider who carries the required vaccination.

All unmarked vaccinations are available on-hand at the UT Health Austin Work Life Clinic.

About UT Health Austin

UT Health Austin, the group practice designed and managed by the faculty and staff of the Dell Medical School, focuses the expertise of a team of experienced medical professionals to deliver personalized, whole-person care of uncompromising quality. Our experienced healthcare professionals treat each patient as an individual, with unique circumstances, priorities and beliefs. Working with you, your care team creates an individualized care plan to help you reach the goals that matter most to you — in the care room, and beyond. For more information, call us at 1-833-UT-CARES or request an appointment here.