Planning your long-term travel adventure is without a doubt very exciting. Although, figuring out which vaccines you need can be a daunting task.
During the planning stage we found a lot of information regarding which vaccines we would need for each country and the risks by not taking them. But we did struggle to find one post that covered everything that we were looking for.
So below is a combined research of what we gathered and chose to take ourselves.
Saying that, please bear in mind that we both live in the United Kingdom, so prices will differ from country to country. Also we are not medical professionals and all the information was taken from reliable sources, e.g: Fit For Travel Website.
Vaccinations for Travel – Where to start:
- Make sure your childhood vaccinations are up to date
- Contact your local GP or Family Doctor and find out if you are due a booster dose
- Write down a list of countries that you are planning on visiting
- Before you pay for your travel vaccines privately make sure you check with your GP or Family Doctor which vaccines they offer free of charge.
What did we already have?
- MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
- Diphtheria, Polio & Tetanus
Because we are both UK residents the following vaccinations were free of charge:
- Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus (combined booster every 10 years)
- Typhoid (3 years cover)
- Hepatitis A – including when combined with Typhoid or Hepatitis B. (combined booster every 10 years)
Which jabs did we have from the Travel Clinic:
Japanese encephalitis is a type of viral brain infection that is spread through mosquito bites. It’s most common in rural areas throughout South East Asia. These mosquitos are normally found in rice paddles, as well on pigs and birds. Recovery in slow and long-term debility is common.
Costs: GBP£85/USD$110 per dose
Dosage: 2 shots – First at Day 0, next at Day 28.
Vaccinated for: 1-2 years’ cover
Rabies is a fatal and incredibly painful disease which is spread through animal bites and saliva. The risk for humans occurs with animal contact. Transmission concurs from someone being bitten by the infected animal, and the virus then transfers through the animal’s saliva. The incubation period is between 20-90 days.
Costs: GBP£55/USD$70 per dose
Dosage: 3 shots – First at Day 0, Day 7 and Day 28
Vaccinated for: 10 years cover (if animal contact occurs, must be vaccinated every 1-2 years)
Other Vaccines that people might consider and how long to the vaccines last:
Yellow Fever is spread via infected mosquitos in Tropical Areas – Africa & South America. Single injection. Prices vary between GBP£50-£80/USD$65-$100. Requires a booster every 10 years.
Regions of the world with poor sanitations & water hygiene. Vaccine given as a drink in two separate doses. Price – GBP£35/USD$45 per dose. Lasts 2 years.
If you are a long-term traveller who will be in close contact with the local population around sub-Saharan Africa. Single injection. Price GBP£50/USD$65. Requires a booster every 2-3 years.
Has similar symptoms to meningitis and is spread by ticks or drinking unpasteurised milk from infected animals. Two separate doses one to three months apart. Prices vary between GBP£70-£90/USD$90-$115 per dose. Lasts 1-3 years.
What vaccines do I need for where I am going?
Hepatitis A is present in all countries with poor sanitation and public hygiene and Hepatitis B is found in South East Asia, the Middle East, South and Western Pacific and parts of the Caribbean.
Polio & Diphtheria are mainly found in developing countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South America.
Tetanus is present pretty much worldwide.
Japanese B Encephalitis can occur following the rainy season in China, regions of Nepal, northern Burma, eastern and southern states of India, northern Sri Lanka, northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Also can be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, southern parts of Thailand, southern Sri Lanka and all of India.
Tick Borne Encephalitis is found in European Russia, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Scandinavia. It can also be found in eastern parts of China.
Rabies has a greater risk in Asia, Africa and South America.
Typhoid is present worldwide, however it is worse where food and water may be contaminated with sewage — in Africa, Far East and South America.
Yellow Fever is present in tropical Africa and South America. You may be required to show a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate to enter certain countries if you are traveling from an infected area. (the certificate is any extra cost from the vaccine itself).
When shall I start taking my Travel Vaccinations?
6 months – In order to get long-term protection for Hepatitis A & B you should get it done at least 6 months prior to your travels, so you can complete the full course. If this is not possible the you can have the first two shots, 30 days apart, and have the booster whilst you are on the road.
1-2 months – Tick-Borne Encephalitis requires 2 doses, one at 0 days and the other 4-12 weeks apart.
1 month or less – Japanese B Encephalitis, days 0, 7 and 28. Rabies, days 0 and 28. Typhoid, one single injection. Yellow Fever, must be given 10 days before leaving.
Some travellers choose not to receive many of the vaccines and have never had any problems, and although it is true that the chances of contracting these diseases are quite rare, if you are unlucky enough to become sick in a foreign place, you will regret it for the rest of your life.
So remember…better safe than sorry!
Did you find this post useful? Let us know if you have any further questions or you would like to offer advice regarding this topic.
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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.
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