FREE TRAVELLERS HEALTH ADVICE
FREE disease information
VACCINATIONS FOR TRAVELLERS
How long before travel do I need to get my shots?
In line with international recommendations, WORLDWISE recommends
travellers make an appointment with one of our Centres, or our OnLINE Travellers
health Clinics, at least 8 weeks before travel. Some
vaccinations require a number of doses, and is good to start them well
before you travel. This is also a good time to check out any medications
that you may need to prevent malaria.
If you have not finalized your itinerary, then having a consultation with us
may help you decide because we travel a lot ourselves and may be able to
make some recommendations about where to go. You also need to know that it
is never too late to get updates or advice for your travelling. We are here
to help you get as much information as you can for a safe and healthy trip
How long do the vaccinations last
Have a look at the chart below and that will give you an idea of how
long they last, provided that you have had the FULL course of injections.
- Chicken Pox 10 years, or longer
- Cholera (oral vaccine) about
- Diphtheria 10 years
- Flu vaccine (Fluvax) about 1
- Hepatitis A (Vaqta / Havrix/Twinrix)
30 years (possibly longer)
- Hepatitis B (HBVax II/Engerix
- Japanese B Encephalitis 2 - 3
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella 15 years,
- Meningitis (Menomune/Mencevax)
- Pneumonia (Pneumovax) 5 years,
- Polio (Sabin) 10 years, or longer
- Polio (IPV) 10 years, or longer
- Rabies (pre exposure) 1 - 10
- Tetanus 10 years, or longer
- Typhoid 2 - 3 years
- Yellow Fever 10 years
What side effects could I get
after the vaccinations?
Vaccinations are now so pure that they are not so likely
to cause reactions or side-effects, as they used to do. They tend to
be greatly purified and that part of the vaccine that used to cause unpleasant
reactions has been eliminated. After the vaccinating, WORLDWISE recommends
minimal sport and recreational activities but folk can work, drive a
car, and play sport. These days, vaccination is unlikely to leave a scar.
Any vaccine can cause a variety of reactions, most of which are uncommonly
rare. The following are some common reactions to vaccinations:
1. Sore, red arm: Vaccinations may cause a sore arm
for a few days. Usually, this is all that the average traveller will
feel. Nevertheless, tetanus vaccination can definitely aches for a
few days post-vaccination though the shot itself is usually quite painless.
With tetanus, a traveller may also develop a lump where the injection
was given. This may persist for a few weeks or months.
For pain relief and redness after an injection, WORLDWISE recommends
placing an icepack on the affected area. Have some paracetamol to ease
2. Itchiness: Some vaccines may be given into the
skin (Intradermal) or under the skin (Subcutaneous). They could cause
itchiness at the injection site and/or a small surface lump that may
persist for weeks or months. Such a reaction will ultimately disappear.
3. Fainting: Some may faint after a vaccination. This is not
unusual, and is not a cause for alarm. If you have a past
history of fainting after injections, then tell your travel health
professional, for you may need to lie down during vaccination and for
up to twenty minutes afterwards.
4. Allergic reactions (Anaphylaxis): Allergic reactions
are rare but can be very serious. They are more likely to occur in those
who have a previous allergy; for example to eggs. This is the reason
that the Yellow Fever vaccine is done at special centres. so that
you can be monitored after your vaccinations. After vaccinations,
notify your health professional immediately if you feel:
- faint (especially on standing )
- sudden dizziness
- suddenly tired
- develop a rash, especially over your body distant from the injection
- short of breath OR you suddenly develop a cough or a wheeze
- swelling of the throat
- swellings of your throat, face, hands or limbs
Symptoms usually develop within 30 minutes of vaccination, and this
is the need to wait for a time after vaccinations. Sometimes, however,
allergic symptoms and signs may appear up to 10 days after vaccinations.
This is particularly so with Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine. If you develop
one or more of the above symptoms within 10 days, immediately seek medical
5 . Fevers and feeling sick after specific vaccines:
Yellow fever vaccine
may cause headaches, a slight fever, muscle aches and tiredness in about
5% of persons, starting 3-7 days after vaccination.
mumps, rubella) may cause a fever in about 10% of those who
have the vaccination, 5-10 days after vaccination.
flu vaccine is 'dead' and cannot cause the flu. If you develop
a fever or become unwell after any of these vaccinations, then WORLDWISE
suggests that you can the health professional gave you the vaccines.
What if I have a cold?
It is safe to be vaccinated while you have a runny nose,
sore throat or cough. You may need to check this out with your doctor
or nurse. WORLDWISE recommends that you delay any vaccination if you
have a fever over 39°C, if you are sick in bed or you just 'don't
feel up to it today'!
Can vaccines weaken my immune system?
No, there is absolutely no evidence for this, in fact it
has been shown that a number of vaccines on the same day can increase
an immune response. Remember that we travel health professionals
are not here to PUSH vaccines into you but to recommend them if you need
them for your safe travel. We only recommend vaccinations
are only recommended when the risk of the disease is far greater than
any risk from the vaccine.
having alcohol after vaccinations do any harm?
If you are having
certain vaccinations (like Japanese Encephalitis vaccine), you are
advised to avoid 'excessive' alcohol for 2 days after each dose. No
problems with having alcohol in the 48 hours after other vaccinations.
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