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Travel vaccines

Date last reviewed: 
Tuesday, Dec 12, 2023

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When travelling internationally, it's important to plan ahead and get all the recommended and required vaccines for the countries you plan to visit. 

Planning ahead

Talk to your health care provider or visit a travel clinic at least 6 to 8 weeks before you travel. This is important because some vaccines may take several weeks to become fully effective, and others may require more than 1 dose.

If you leave on short notice, it's still important to talk to your health care provider or visit a travel clinic. Some vaccines that require more than 1 dose, like the hepatitis A vaccine, can still give you partial protection after just 1 dose. Some vaccines can also be given on an accelerated schedule; this means doses are given over a shorter period.

An Asian woman wearing headphones and sitting on a yellow plane seat while looking down at her iPad and smiling.

Vaccines for travel 

Routine vaccines

No matter where you travel, it is important to ensure your routine vaccines are up to date. Many diseases prevented by routine vaccines, such as measles and polio, are no longer common in Canada but are still common in other countries. 

Recommended travel vaccines 

Additional vaccines may be recommended depending on the following: 

  • Your travel destination.
  • Your age.
  • The risk of disease in the country or countries you are visiting.
  • The length of your trip.
  • The nature of the travel (for example, if you will stay in urban or remote areas).
  • The activities you have planned while traveling.

Here are some examples of vaccines that may be recommended for travel to certain countries:

Required travel vaccines

Some countries require proof of receiving certain vaccines before entering the country. These requirements vary by country. For example:

Your health care provider or a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at a travel clinic can tell you what vaccines you need. You can also search for vaccines recommended by travel destinations on Health Canada's website. 

Where to get travel vaccines

Travel vaccines are available from travel clinics, most pharmacies, and some doctors’ offices. You must go to a designated yellow fever vaccination centre for the yellow fever vaccine. There is a charge for most travel vaccines.