Holiday Vaccinations: An easy Guide

If you are going to a country where diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis are endemic, it's very important to get vaccinated.

Follow our guide to help you find out what vaccinations you need and how to get them.

Finding out if you need a vaccination

Whether you need vaccinations for your trip depends on where you are travelling. To find out what vaccinations you need for your you can go to the NHS 'Fit for Travel' website which has an interactive map and comprehensive list of which vaccinations you'll need.

If you do need to be vaccinated before your trip you should get in touch with your GP or practice nurse who can tell you if your existing UK vaccinations are up-to-date. Even if you're sure you are up-to-date it can be useful to speak to them about general health while you travel and for advice about protecting yourself from malaria.

Where you can obtain vaccinations

If you do need vaccinations your GP or practice nurse might be able to do them for you, as well as any UK boosters you need. There are also private travel vaccination clinics you can contact. Either way, make sure you book an appointment in plenty of time, ideally four to six weeks before your trip to give the vaccination time to get working.

The cost of holiday vaccinations

Some vaccinations are available free on the NHS because of the increased risk they pose to the public if they're brought into the country. You'll be able to get the following free of charge:

  • Polio (given as a tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster)
  • Typhoid
  • The first dose of hepatitis A
  • Cholera

Many GPs will also give you the second dose of hepatitis A or the combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine free of charge but ask first to be sure. Even if a vaccination is recommended for travel it might not be available for free. You may have to pay around £50 per dose for the following:

  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Yellow fever
  • Rabies, tuberculosis
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Tick-borne encephalitis

If money is tight, it's worth finding out how much you'll have to pay for injections when you start planning your trip.

The risk of not being vaccinated

While vaccinations might be unpleasant and there's no legal requirement to get them you're risking some pretty nasty diseases if you don't.

If you do become ill with a disease which you should have been vaccinated for, you could also find that your travel insurance won't cover you. In order for your travel insurance to be fully valid you should have all recommended vaccinations for the country you are visiting.

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