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Travel Vaccination

For travellers, vaccination offers protection against potentially serious diseases that may be encountered abroad.  Immunized travellers will also be less likely to infect other travellers or the local population with such diseases.

Travellers are advised to consult a travel clinic 4 to 8 weeks before departure.  This is to allow sufficient time for immunisation schedules to be completed.  Many vaccines take some time to develop protective effect following vaccination.  If it is less than 4 weeks, you should still see your doctor.  It may not be too late to get your medications and other travel advice.

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Vaccines for travellers include routine vaccines, recommended vaccines for disease endemic countries, and some mandatory vaccines. 

Routine vaccines are mostly administered during childhood.  However, unvaccinated older adults are susceptible to infection when they travel to countries where the causative microbes are still present.  Pre-travel precautions should include booster doses of routine vaccines if the regular schedule had not been followed, or a full course of primary immunisation for people who had never been vaccinated.

Some routine vaccinations incclude

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • Measles, mumps and rubella
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Tuberculosis (BCG)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella

Some recommended vaccines for disease endemic countries include

  • Hepatitis B
  • Influenza
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Yellow Fever
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Rotavirus (for infants)

Please visit http://www.who.int/ith/en/ for information on individual country situation.

Mandatory vaccination against meningococcal disease is required by Saudi Arabia for pilgrims visiting Mecca annual (Haji) or at any time (Umrah) and /or Medina.

Yellow fever vaccination is a condition of entry by some countries for travellers who arrive from, or made an airport transit from, a yellow fever endemic country.

As vaccines do not always fully protect 100% of the recipients, the vaccinated traveller should not assume that there is zero risk of contracting the disease against which he or she has been vaccinated.  All additional precautions against infection should be followed, regardless of any vaccines or other medication that have been administered.  Immunisation is not a substitute for avoiding potentially contaminated food and water.

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