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Travel Vaccinations Guide

AllClear Team
Last updated 25 March 2021
Travel Vaccinations Guide: Young woman relaxing on inflatable donut in swimming pool on holiday

COVID-19 travel regulations for those may need travel vaccinations

When planning a holiday, there are many things to consider. Two of the main travel considerations, aside from packing, are travel vaccinations and COVID-19 measures.

This guide provides you with information about travel vaccinations. It will also provide you with resources to help answer any COVID-19 travel-related questions you may have.

If you’re still planning to travel this year, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Travel regulations continue to adapt to the constantly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. So, here are some useful guides to help you travel with confidence:

Travel vaccinations

Whether you’re soaking in the atmosphere in India or heading to the vineyards of South Africa, you’ll need to think about travel vaccinations.

Different countries around the world can be home to infectious diseases that aren’t present in the UK. So, it’s important to get the right vaccinations before you travel.

Here’s a useful travel vaccinations guide that will help you find out:

  • Which travel jabs you’ll need
  • Where to get them
  • Whether you’ll need to pay for them

Which vaccinations will you need to travel?

Your GP can advise you about vaccinations you may need and there’s plenty of information available online. Your GP can also provide other travel health advice.

You can find out if you need a vaccination by selecting your destination country on these websites:

Some destinations will also ask you to prove that you have been vaccinated for certain diseases. Proof must be documented on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before you enter or when you leave the country. You’ll need a polio vaccination if you’re travelling to a country where the disease is common or if there is an outbreak in the area. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) provides plenty of information on the destinations where polio is a problem.

If you’re travelling in Africa, South and Central America and some parts of the Caribbean, you’ll probably need vaccination against yellow fever. Yellow fever is a dangerous but preventable virus spread by mosquitoes. You’ll need to give proof of yellow fever vaccination if you’re travelling from an at-risk destination – important if you’re visiting multiple locations.

However, if you’re only travelling to northern and central Europe, North America or Australia, you’re unlikely to need any vaccinations at all.

Where can I get travel vaccinations?

You can be immunised at your GP’s practice, a private clinic or a nearby pharmacy. You can only get yellow fever vaccinations at specialist centres (find on National Travel Health Network and Centre).

Will there be any side effects?

All vaccines can cause side effects. However, most tend to be mild and only last a day or two. Some people don’t get any side effects at all.

Common side effects can include flu-like symptoms and a mild fever (NHS website).

The NHS recommends you seek help if you have a more severe reaction or if the side effects don’t go away after a few days.

When should you get vaccinated?

Book an appointment with your GP or a private travel clinic at least 8 weeks before your holiday. You’ll need some vaccines well in advance so you develop immunity. Some vaccines may involve several doses spread across several weeks or months.

You may want to visit your GP, even if you plan to get vaccinated at a private clinic, as they can access your medical records to check whether previous immunisations are still effective and if you’ll need a booster.

How much do vaccinations cost?

You can get several travel vaccines for free if your GP practice is signed up to provide the service:

  • Polio (given as a combined diphtheria/tetanus/polio jab)
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholera

Where you pay for vaccinations, they can be quite expensive – three doses of the rabies jab can cost well over £100. Common vaccines that you’ll probably need to pay for include:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis
  • Meningitis
  • Yellow fever

Is there anything else vaccine related you need to consider?

Some vaccines can’t be given to people with certain medical conditions which have compromised their immune systems. Examples of such conditions being HIV or those who’ve recently had chemotherapy or bone marrow or organ transplant.

Vaccinations may be less effective and have different side effects if you’re taking certain medication. Therefore, you must inform the clinic who are doing the jabs of any medication that you take. You might want to consult your doctor if you have an existing condition before you book your jabs.

COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases, which is why drug developers around the world are in the process of trying to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Once successfully developed, people will be able to have a form of immunity against COVID-19 and will therefore be able to travel more and live with less restriction.

Click here for more information on the COVID-19 vaccine research.

COVID-19 new measures and essentials

Now we have covered vaccine-related travel considerations, it’s time to address the COVID-19 new measures and essentials.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, new measures have been brought in to help keep you safe when at an airport or travelling on public transport. Click here for the latest flying rules and measures from Government, BA, EasyJet and Ryanair.

For the COVID-19 related travel essentials, keep reading.

Make sure you have the COVID-19 travel essentials

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, you will need to take with you a few additional items to stay safe whilst travelling. To protect yourself and others, make sure you pack the following essential items:

A face covering

In public spaces, in the UK and many other countries, it’s now mandatory to wear a face-covering to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Click here for more information on COVID-19 and face masks.

Hand cleanser

It’s easy to pick up germs when travelling from place to place. However, following the outbreak of COVID-19, it’s now more important than ever to keep our hands’ bacteria-free.

For when it’s not possible to wash your hands, hand cleansing gel is a great on-the-go solution.

You’ll need a gel that’s at least 60% alcohol concentration. Click here for more information.

Travel insurance

Over a fifth of holidaymakers have to seek medical treatment when abroad. So regardless of which transport you choose, travel with peace of mind by having comprehensive medical travel insurance!

How to travel with confidence during the pandemic

Find the answers to the most common questions from AllClear policyholders about their travel insurance cover


Article sources

World Health Organisation
Global Polio Eradication Initiative
The information in this blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. It is a general overview of a broad medical care topic. Blog posts are not tailored to one person’s specific medical requirements, diagnosis or treatment. If you do notice symptoms or you require medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to obtain professional medical help. Read through our disclaimer for more information.

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