When travelling internationally, you may be at risk for a number of diseases that are rarely found in Canada but are common in other parts of the world. Travel vaccines will provide you with important protection.
Travel health notices are posted by the Government of Canada for Canadians travelling abroad.
Consult your health care provider or visit a travel health clinic as early as possible, and preferably at least six weeks before you travel. This is important because some vaccines may take several weeks to become fully effective, and others may require more than one dose.
If your trip is happening in less than six weeks, it is still recommended that you visit a health care provider or travel clinic for a pre-travel consultation. This is because even if you receive them close to your departure, some vaccines can still offer protection against disease.
What vaccines do I need for travel?
Routine vaccines are those recommended for everyone in B.C. Regardless of your travel destination, it is important to ensure your routine vaccines are up-to-date. These vaccines provide protection against many diseases that may be uncommon in Canada, such as measles and polio, but are still common in other parts of the world.
Travellers may require additional doses or booster doses of routine vaccines or may need to receive their vaccines on a different schedule. For example, if you are travelling with an infant, your infant may need to get certain vaccines early.
Additional vaccines may be recommended for your travel destination depending on your age and the details of your trip, including:
- The risk of disease in the country or countries you are visiting (review travel health notices for your destination)
- The length of your trip
- The nature of your travel (for example, if you will be staying in urban or remote areas)
- The activities you have planned while traveling
When you visit your health care provider or travel health specialist, make sure to share these details, so that they can provide you with the vaccines you need.
Examples of additional vaccines that may be recommended:
- Hepatitis A vaccine
- Meningococcal vaccine
- Japanese encephalitis vaccine
- Typhoid vaccine
- Cholera and travellers’ diarrhea vaccine
Some countries require that you have proof of receiving certain vaccines prior to entering the country. These requirements vary by country.
- Saudi Arabia requires proof of meningococcal vaccination for all travellers arriving for the purpose of Umrah or pilgrimage (Hajj) and for seasonal workers.
- Yellow fever vaccination, documented on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, is required for entry into certain countries.
Find out which vaccines may be recommended or required for your destination. Your health care provider or a travel health specialist can tell you which vaccines you need.
Where can I get travel vaccines?
Travel vaccines are available from travel health clinics, most pharmacies, and some doctors’ offices. For the yellow fever vaccine, you will need to go to a designated yellow fever vaccination centre.
There is a charge for most travel vaccines.