New resource to help smart travellers be medicinewise about vaccinations

9 July 2012

A trip overseas — whether for leisure or business — can be very exciting, but can also expose you to diseases and infections not generally found in Australia.

Many illnesses caught while overseas are avoidable if you have a vaccination prior to your departure and it’s important to know which vaccinations you need to have for the countries you are visiting.

To help would-be travellers, NPS has launched a new online knowledge hub providing detailed and up-to-date information about travel vaccines, including who should have them, what infections they protect against, and the possible side effects.

NPS clinical adviser Dr Philippa Binns says that adults and children travelling overseas should also make sure their routine vaccinations are up to date — especially the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine as nearly all cases of measles in Australia are caught overseas and brought home.

“You should see your doctor well before your departure date — at least six to eight weeks — to discuss what vaccinations you will need for the countries you will be travelling to,” says Dr Binns.

“Some vaccinations need more than one dose to be given over a period of time, and your body will need time to build up immunity before you leave.”

Dr Binns also says that being protected against diseases such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis not only benefits you but also your family and community when you return.

“This is particularly important for travellers who could introduce new diseases to the country, or re-introduce diseases we have managed to eradicate,” she says.

The NPS knowledge hub includes specific details about all the vaccines available in Australia, including routine childhood vaccines, what diseases they protect against, who should have the vaccines and when, and the possible side effects.

It also provides information about vaccines for specific groups of people like travellers, pregnant women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

If you’re concerned that you may have had side effects related to a vaccine, seek medical advice. To report and discuss possible side effects, call the Adverse Medicines Events (AME) line on 1300 134 237 from anywhere in Australia (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm AEST). People with questions about their medicines can also call Medicines Line on 1300 633 424 (also Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

The NPS vaccination knowledge hub can be accessed at

For specific information about vaccinations for travellers, visit


Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests.We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.