Vaccines for travellers
Talk to your doctor about vaccines you may need before you travel. Image: Ryan R Fox/Shutterstock.com
If you are going to travel overseas you may be exposed to diseases that are not common or not present in Australia.
Babies, young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with a weakened immune system (due to a medical condition or certain medicines) are especially at risk of infection and the complications of an illness when travelling.
Depending on where you are travelling to, you may have limited access to clean water and health care, so it is a good idea to visit your doctor before you travel to ask for advice about any precautions you may need to take in the country you are travelling to (e.g. avoiding bites from mosquitoes), and whether there are any vaccinations you need.
Go to your doctor at least 6 weeks before you travel — in case you need any vaccinations — to give your immune system time to respond to any vaccination you have had, and because some vaccines may need more than one injection.
Adults and children travelling overseas should make sure that their recommended vaccinations are up to date. The vaccinations you need will depend on several factors including:
- your age
- the vaccinations you have already had
- any medical conditions you have
- the country you are visiting.
You may need to have one or more of the following vaccinations:
- chicken pox (varicella zoster)
- cholera (rarely required)
- diptheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis) booster
- hepatitis A
- hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
- measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
- pneumococcal (particularly older people)
- tuberculosis (TB) or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)
- yellow fever (required by some countries).
Click on the vaccines above to read more in-depth information including who should have the vaccine and the potential side effects.
For more information about travel vaccines see our list of resources and useful links page.
- Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. National Health and Medical Research Council. Section 3.2 Vaccination for international travel. In: The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 10th edn. 2013. www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part3~handbook10-3-2
- World Health Organisation. International Travel and Health. 2013. Vaccines. www.who.int/ith/vaccines/en
- Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Travel tips: Health. www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips