Planning to travel abroad? It’s easy to get carried away by the excitement of planning a vacation or caught up in other details when traveling for business. But when organizing your visit, don’t forget to consider your health and whether your vaccinations are up to date. Specific vaccinations are required for entry to some countries — so don't be caught off-guard or forced to postpone your travels! Spread traveler health awareness to the members of your community by sharing the following traveler vaccination information.
Research your destination.
Which vaccinations you may need depend partly on where you plan to travel. Does your trip involve an international flight or travel to another continent? What are the local health risks, travel advisories and alerts? Your destination may require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination, also known as a Yellow Card, or other proof that they have had certain vaccinations or medical tests before entering or transiting the country. Even if this isn't the case, you may still want to visit the CDC Travelers' Health website. They have a quick and easy online form to fill out that will offer you helpful health advice and recommendations for your destination based on the criteria you enter.
Visit a health care provider for vaccinations and a pretravel consultation.
Getting a consultation for pretravel health care about four to six weeks before your departure is a sure way to know whether you’ve covered your bases and received proper travel guidance for your specific needs. Certain vaccines, like those for hepatitis A, require multiple doses. Different types of providers offer varied advice and services.
- Your family doctor or nurse can provide you with a pretravel consultation if your destination is to a country with similar health risks to the U.S. Otherwise, they can refer you elsewhere for a more complete assessment.
- County or local health departments offer pretravel health advice and administer certain vaccinations or medications. If a location near you doesn’t provide such services, they can usually direct you to somewhere that will.
- Private travel clinics offer complete pretravel health care and advice. If you are visiting several countries with various health risks, are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, have a weak immune system or a medical condition, consulting a professional who specializes in travel medicine is your best option. If the yellow fever vaccine is recommended or required where you are traveling, you will need to visit an authorized yellow fever vaccine center.
To find a health department or travel clinic near you, visit the CDC Travelers' Health website and search the database.
Before Your Appointment
Gather the following items to bring with you:
- Your immunization booklet. No matter how outdated, it contains your vaccination history. If you don’t have one or can’t find it, your family doctor may be able to provide you with a history or record of the vaccines you’ve previously taken.
- Your list of medications and associated health conditions. Include dosages and directives (frequency, etc.).
- Your complete travel itinerary. Include names of specific locations like town and city names, and where you will be staying. Risks for different diseases can vary greatly, even within the same country.
Wherever your travels take you, it's always important to consider possible risks to your health. Consulting the CDC's Travel Health Notices online will provide you with accurate, up-to-date information on your destination.
For more information on the various products available to purchase for your community, browse the QuickSeries® library of safety guides, including: Emerging Infectious Diseases: Threats and Outbreaks.