If you’re planning to travel outside the UK, you may need to be vaccinated against some of the serious diseases found in other parts of the world.
When should I start thinking about the vaccines I need?
If possible, see the GP or a private travel clinic at least 6 to 8 weeks before you’re due to travel.
Some vaccines need to be given well in advance to allow your body to develop immunity.
And some vaccines involve a number of doses spread over several weeks or months.
You may be more at risk of some diseases, for example, if you’re:
– travelling in rural areas
– staying in hostels or camping
– on a long trip rather than a package holiday
If you have a pre-existing health problem, this may make you more at risk of infection or complications from a travel-related illness.
Which travel vaccines do I need?
You can find out which vaccinations are necessary or recommended for the areas you’ll be visiting on these websites:
Some countries require proof of vaccination (for example, for polio or yellow fever vaccination), which must be documented on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before you enter or when you leave a country.
Saudi Arabia requires proof of vaccination against certain types of meningitis for visitors arriving for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
Even if an ICVP is not required, it’s still a good idea to take a record of the vaccinations you have had with you.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination
You may need COVID-19 vaccinations to travel abroad.
Check the foreign travel advice on GOV.UK to find out the entry requirements of the country you’re visiting.
Where do I get my travel vaccines?
First, phone or visit the GP practice or practice nurse to find out whether your existing UK vaccinations are up-to-date.
If you have any records of your vaccinations, let the GP know what you have had previously.
The GP or practice nurse may be able to give you general advice about travel vaccinations and travel health, such as protecting yourself from malaria.
They can give you any missing doses of your UK vaccines if you need them.
Not all travel vaccinations are available free on the NHS, even if they’re recommended for travel to a certain area.
If the GP practice can give you the travel vaccines you need but they are not available on the NHS, ask for:
– written information on what vaccines are needed
– the cost of each dose or course
– any other charges you may have to pay, such as for some certificates of vaccination
You can also get travel vaccines from:
– private travel vaccination clinics
– pharmacies offering travel healthcare services
Which travel vaccines are free?
The following travel vaccines are available free on the NHS from your GP surgery:
polio (given as a combined diphtheria/tetanus/polio jab)
These vaccines are free because they protect against diseases thought to represent the greatest risk to public health if they were brought into the country.