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Ask the Pharmacist – Do I need to be vaccinated before I travel?

Question:   My husband and I are planning our next vacation, and while we haven’t yet decided on our destination we’re concerned that we may need to be vaccinated before we go.  If we’re careful about washing our hands and careful about what we eat, why do we need to get shots?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommend that all of your recommended vaccinations are up to date before you travel.  While it is simple to think that you’re already vaccinated against common infectious disease, you need to realize that a lot of infection diseases that exist are common in other part of the world but rare in the United States – and therefore you may not actually be vaccinated against them.

Timing your vaccinations

You should consult with your doctor about what vaccinations you might need at least six weeks before you intend to travel. This is because you may need a series of vaccinations depending on where you are going and it may take that long for your body to build up immunity.

This is also a good time to review your routine vaccinations with your doctor and make sure that you are up to date on any you and your family may need.

Check with this list of vaccine recommendations and requirements for your travel destination 

Don’t forget your measles vaccination!

There is a good chance you have heard about the number of measles cases in the United States over the last year.  The CDC states that most of the measles cases in the United States were brought into the country by unvaccinated travelers, and that 2 out of 3 of the unvaccinated travelers are Americans.  It’s estimated that about 110,000 people worldwide die every year from measles.

The CDC recommends that before any international travel everyone should be vaccinated against measles. For more information on CDC Travel Notices on Measles visit the CDC Measles page

Did you find this article helpful? Check out these other helpful articles:

How to Plan for a Healthy and Safe Summer Road Trip

It’s Family Vacation Season – Don’t Forget Your Prescription Meds!

Prescription Glumetza for Better Type 2 Diabetes Blood Sugar Control

If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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