The Importance of Vaccinations for Those Traveling Overseas

Times have changed. People are traveling all more than ever and globally people are moving more freely than in the past. 

But when people mingle, so do germs and diseases. It’s important to be aware that international travel comes with elevated health risks. This is especially true in developing parts of the world. While getting a shot may not sound like the best way to begin your travel plans, you will want to consider the following:


Prevention is the number one reason that getting vaccinated before travel is the best move a traveler can make. Vaccination can help limit symptoms, drastically lower or avoid the infection of several diseases.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. About 15% of people who get yellow fever will develop a serious complication such as bleeding, shock and organ failure.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is caused by an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV) and is most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by fecal matter from an infected person. Hepatitis A doesn’t require treatment because it is a short-term illness. But there is a two-part hepatitis A vaccine available to prevent this infection.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infected body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Acute hepatitis B doesn’t require specific treatment however a chronic infection would need antiviral medications. Such treatments are costly and last for several months or years. Hepatitis B can be prevented with a three-part vaccination.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is from the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and much like Hepatitis B is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids. HCV is considered one of the most common blood-borne viral infections in the United States. There is no vaccination for hepatitis C. That is why it is important to travelers to be careful when traveling and keep in mind that it’s a good idea to take a Hep C test when you return.

Lack of Medical Care

It is important to speak to your healthcare provider before travel. Not every location has easy access to medical attention, let alone access to viable vaccinations. Taking the time to be vaccinated before travel can help lower your risk and prevent some medical emergencies from ruining your trip.

You should plan to discuss your destination plans with your healthcare provider. Some vaccination requirements or suggestions will depend on where you will be traveling. For example, the vaccination for Yellow Fever is encouraged for those looking to travel to Brazil. For those traveling to Japan, may want to consider getting the Japanese Encephalitis vaccination.

Spreading Illness

Infection is very dangerous and while vaccinations can help prevent or contain an illness from the spread, there are many illnesses that no vaccinations currently exist for. Currently, the world is dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread throughout countries and doing harm. Currently, there is no vaccination for COVID-19 and may not be one for some time.

Some diseases can be prevented or halted from spreading by receiving the correct vaccinations promptly. Not only is it safer for you as a traveler, but it might be vital for those in countries where people may lack the immunity to fight it off.

Vaccinations are important to maintaining a healthy life and the safety of the world as a community. A traveler should take the time to talk with their healthcare provider to make sure their immunizations are up to date or to discuss other vaccinations they may need before boarding a plane.

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