We answer your most-asked questions about travel vaccinations, so they can be the least of your holiday worries
Passport? Check. Bottle of sun cream? Check. Travel vaccinations? Check.
Ensuring you’ve considered any recommended vaccinations are an important part of your holiday checklist. Here, we’ve answered some of your most-asked questions on travel vaccinations so you can prepare for your trip abroad.
What are travel vaccinations?
Travel vaccinations are recommended before visiting certain countries. They help protect you against serious illnesses that your body may not have encountered before as they’re not found in the UK.
Just like a vaccination you may have received in the past – like ones for flu or COVID-19 – travel vaccinations work by triggering your immune system so it can build up its defences against the disease or virus. This should help protect you from some diseases you may encounter whilst abroad.
Why do I need travel vaccinations?
The UK’s childhood vaccination programme will have given you protection from some diseases, but does not provide protection against all of the infectious diseases found abroad.
So, if you’re flying off to somewhere exotic or entering a part of the world you’ve not visited before, travel vaccinations may be recommended for your trip as a preventative measure.
Which vaccinations will I need & where can I get them?
The vaccinations you should consider depend on where you’ll be visiting, the activities you’ll be doing, plus your age and general health. The Boots Travel Vaccinations & Health Advice Service^ can help you work out which vaccinations and antimalarials you may want to consider for your trip and can offer advice on how to lower your risk of getting a disease while you’re abroad. Alternatively speak to your GP for advice.
Use our Travel Vaccinations & Health Advice quick check tool to find out which diseases are found in the countries you’ll be visiting.
Travel vaccinations are routinely recommended for the following countries, amongst others:
• Parts of Africa
Some travel vaccinations are available for free on the NHS – speak to your GP or practice nurse to find out which vaccinations are recommended for your trip and to book an appointment. Our Travel Vaccinations & Health Advice Service also offers the following vaccinations:
• Hepatitis A*
• Yellow fever**
We also recommend making sure your childhood immunisations are up to date to protect you against diseases like:
• Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)*
• Diphtheria, tetanus and polio (DTP)*
Are any travel vaccinations mandatory to enter a country?
While many travel vaccinations are not legally required for travellers, they’re a good thing to consider.
However, there are some countries which require proof of vaccination upon entry, which must be documented on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). For example, the yellow fever vaccination may be required in certain parts of Africa, South Africa and South America. Saudi Arabia also requires proof of meningococcal ACWY vaccination for those wishing to take part in Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
When should I book an appointment?
While vaccinations might not be your top priority when planning your trip away, it’s important to think about them sooner rather than later. It’s recommended that you get any travel vaccinations six to eight weeks before travelling.
How can I access Boots Travel Vaccinations & Health Advice Service?
Our Travel Vaccinations and Health Advice Service is available in selected UK stores, with appointments lasting around 40 minutes. Our specially-trained pharmacist will advise you on any vaccinations you should consider. You'll also be given additional personalised travel health advice.
It’s easy to book an appointment online. Our service is suitable for adults and children aged two and over. Our pharmacists may also be able to offer you antimalarials as part of this service – you won’t need to book a separate appointment with the Boots Malaria Prevention Service.
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