Getting shots really isn’t a favourite part of travelling and for many destinations, you won’t need any vaccinations. However, if you’re heading to the tropics and some parts of Africa, getting a few vaccines comes highly recommended. Here are the most common ones for top tourist destinations.
Whether you’ll need to get any vaccinations depends on a number of factors. The most common are destination (and in some cases which part of the country you’re planning to visit); season and the time of year you’re travelling; whether you’re staying in a rural or urban area; the length of your trip; and your own age and health status.
The low-down on vaccinations
We’ve collected together a handful of popular countries to visit where a vaccination may be required or recommended. For most of your travels in northern and central Europe, North America and Australia, vaccinations won’t be necessary but if you’re headed to Costa Rica, South Africa, Thailand and beyond, it’s a good idea to see your GP before you go.
- Costa Rica: Hepatitis A is strongly recommended, while Diptherhia, Rabies and Tetanus are also advised. *
- South Africa: Hepatitis A and Diphtheria are strongly advised; other vaccines to consider include Cholera, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tetanus and Typhoid. **
- Brazil: Hepatitis A, Diptheria and Tetanus are advised; others to consider include Rabies, Typhoid and Yellow Fever.
- Peru: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid are recommended; Diptheria, Rabies and Yellow Fever are others to consider.
- Israel: Hepatitis A and Poliomyelitis are recommended; Diptheria, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Tetanus are others to consider.
- Mexico: Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid are advised; Rabies and Diptheria are also recommended.
- Cuba: Hepatitis A is advised; Cholera, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Tetanus are also ones to consider.
- Australia (Tasmania): No boosters are advised but vaccines to consider include Diptheria, Tetanus and Japanese Encephalitis. **
- Thailand (Phuket, Koh Samui): Hepatitis A and Tetanus are advised; Cholera, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabis and Typhoid are also recommended. *
* A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required by all travellers over the age of 9 months old if arriving from an infected country or for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of an infected country.
** A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required by all travellers over the age of 1 year old if arriving from an infected country or for travellers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of an infected country.
Yellow Fever Risk Areas
Travel to a yellow fever risk area will usually require a yellow fever vaccination certificate from travellers upon entry. Some countries will ask you for one if you’re arriving from an infected country. This mostly applies to travel in the Americas and Africa. When in doubt, get in touch with the NHS about obtaining a yellow fever certificate.
The following countries are yellow fever risk areas in AFRICA:
The following countries are yellow fever risk areas in the AMERICAS:
Get vaccinated at least 8 weeks before you go
It’s a good idea to get advice on vaccinations at least two months before you go, as some jabs will need to be administered well in advance. If your vaccinations for the UK are not up-to-date, like polio and tetanus, then you’ll need to arrange for some booster shots.
Your GP is the best place to start when it comes to arranging these, and it’s good to know that some shots are covered by the NHS while others are not.
Free travel vaccinations through the NHS:
- Diphtheria, polio, tetanus (combined booster)
- Hepatitis A
Private travel vaccinations (you’ll most likely need to pay for these):
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Yellow Fever (only available from designated centres)
For more information on which vaccines are recommended for which destinations, check out the NHS ‘Fit For Travel’ website.