No matter where you go, you can’t escape illness. In fact, forgetting travel medicine, such as pre-travel vaccinations and prescriptions, could make you more than just home sick.

List of Vaccinations

Hepatitis A Vaccine: Initial shot and booster in 6 to 12 months probably gives lifelong immunity. Replaces gamma globulin. Strongly recommended for almost all travelers to underdeveloped areas.

Typhoid Vaccine: Prevents typhoid fever, a food or water-born bacterial infection of digestive tract. Found worldwide. Live oral vaccine lasts 5 years.

Yellow Fever Vaccine: One injection gives immunity from this mosquito-carried disease for 10 years. Needed for sub-Saharan Africa and northern South America. Avoid in pregnancy, watch if over 65 (1 in 400,000 have a serious multi-organ reaction) Live virus. Avoid if egg allergic.

Meningococcal Vaccine: One  (Menomune/Menactra) shot good for three years in sub-Saharan Africa “meningitis belt” (esp. Dec through June),and New Delhi, Nepal, and pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

Hepatitis B Vaccine: Strongly recommended for intimate exposures, medical activities, staying for over 6 months, exposure to bodily fluids, sexual contact, etc. Probable lifetime passive immunity.

Tetanus Vaccine (Tdap):  Primary series and booster every 10 years. Prevents lockjaw, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

Polio Vaccine: No risk of polio with shot.

Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine:Two doses are best. Not needed if born before 1957.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine: For rural travel/stays over 30 days in China, Korea, SE Asia. Carried by mosquitoes and pigs.

Influenza Vaccine:  A good idea for travelers over 65 or ones with illnesses.

Pneumococcal (pneumonia) Vaccine:  Recommended for immunocompromised, a-splenic persons, and pulmonary diseases.

Rabies Vaccine: 

Consider for rural areas of Africa, Asia, and South America where every village hut has a protective dog. Kids particularly at risk.

Cholera Vaccine: Not very effective. No longer recommended by CDC/WHO. 2 shots with 6-month boosters.

Please note that no vaccine is 100% effective!

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