Which travel vaccinations do I need?

Catching a serious disease while overseas is no laughing matter.

Which travel vaccinations do I need?

A funny tummy, while unpleasant, is almost an expected part of an overseas trip. But catching a more serious disease is no laughing matter, and more than just ruining a holiday, it could be life threatening. So what travel vaccinations do you need before you head off on your journey?

The following is a general list of vaccinations which most overseas travelers will receive at some point during their lives. Some will give you lifelong immunity to the disease, while others only last a few years and must be kept up-to-date if you travel frequently. You may also find that you have had one or two of these vaccinations as part of a routine health check at some point.

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid and paratyphoid fever
  • Malaria
  • Diphtheria
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Yellow Fever
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Tetanus

Many Australians will already be vaccinated against Hepatitis B, Meningococcal disease and Tetanus, but it is still important to check this with your doctor before you travel.

Your doctor will also be able to tell you which vaccinations you need to have based on your travel plans. For example, most travellers will not be recommended a rabies vaccination unless they intend to work with animals, even if rabies is present in the area which they are visiting, and in some countries your visa can be denied if you cannot show documentation to prove that you have received a yellow fever vaccination.

It is also important to visit your doctor as soon as you know that you will be travelling. This is because many of the vaccinations need to be given well in advance – for example, the typhoid vaccination must be administered at least three weeks before departure to be effective, and a full course of rabies shots can take up to three months to administer.

No matter how long you intend to travel for, or where you are going, it is important to find out which vaccinations you should have. Visiting your doctor or a specialist travel clinic is the best way to get this advice, but if you wish to do your own research beforehand, this Travel Health Planner is a simple way to see which immunisations you may be missing.

What do you think? Do you always get immunised before you travel? Or do you risk it for shorter trips?


    To make a comment, please register or login
    9th Jun 2014
    Despite what this article says, I don't believe here is a vaccine for Malaria ...

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles