Travel vaccinations

People who are travelling outside Ireland may need to be vaccinated against some of the serious diseases that are found in other parts of the world.

In Ireland, the childhood vaccination programme protects against a number of diseases, such as tetanus, but it does not cover most of the infectious diseases that are found overseas.

Go to www.immunisation.ie for information about the vaccines that are part of the childhood vaccination programme in Ireland.

Travel vaccinations

For specific travel advice, including vaccinations and malarial prophylaxis you should contact your GP or travel clinic.

See here for general travel advice for International travellers.

International travel and health is a WHO publication is a reference book for doctors and nurses, giving health advice. Available at http://www.who.int/ith/en/

Information about the vaccines can be found in Vaccines A-M and Vaccines P-Z. The links below provide more information about the diseases they prevent.

  • Cholera vaccinationcholera is a disease that causes diarrhoea and vomiting and is usually caught through infected water.
  • Diphtheria vaccinationdiphtheria is a bacterial infection that mainly affects the nose and throat.
  • Hepatitis A vaccination - hepatitis A is an infection that causes inflammation of the liver.
  • Hepatitis B vaccinationhepatitis B is similar to hepatitis A but it is caused by a different virus.
  • Japanese encephalitis vaccination -Japanese encephalitis is a disease that is spread by mosquitoes. It is usually mild but can develop into encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
  • Meningococcal meningitis vaccination - meningococcal meningitis is an infection of the meninges (the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).
  • Poliomyelitis (polio) vaccinationpolio is a highly infectious virus that can cause flu-like symptoms and is potentially fatal.
  • Rabies vaccinationrabies is an infection of the central nervous system that is passed to humans through the bite of an infected animal.
  • Tetanus vaccinationtetanus is a severe but short-lived infection that is caused by bacteria.
  • Tick-borne encephalitis vaccinationtick-borne encephalitis is similar to Japanese encephalitis but it is caught through the bite of an infected tick.
  • Tuberculosis vaccinationtuberculosis is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs.
  • Typhoid fever vaccinationtyphoid fever is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that is caught through contaminated food or water.
  • Yellow fever vaccinationyellow fever is a serious viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes.

Glossary

Bacteria
Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease and some are good for you.
Encephalitis
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. This can develop as a result of infection (usually viral) or when the immune system attacks the tissue of the brain by mistake (post-infectious encephalitis).
Fever
A fever is when you have a high body temperature of 38C (100.4F) or over.
Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Vaccination
Vaccination or immunisation is usually given by an injection that makes the body's immune system produce antibodies that will fight off a virus.

Vaccination can protect you against becoming infected with a range of serious diseases, such as cholera, yellow fever and tick-borne encephalitis.

In Ireland, there is a childhod vaccination programme that protects against a number of diseases, including tetanus, diphtheria and polio. However, this does not cover most of the infectious disease that are found overseas.

For specific travel advice, including vaccinations and malarial prophylaxis you should contact your GP or travel clinic.

See here for general travel advice for International travellers.

International travel and health is a WHO publication is a reference book for doctors and nurses, giving health advice. Available at http://www.who.int/ith/en/

Travel abroad

As foreign travel increases to more far-flung places, more Irish travellers than ever need vaccinations. For example

  • Travel to tropical and sub-tropical destinations is becoming more popular. Dangerous diseases are more likely to be in these areas.
  • Longer holidays abroad, such as gap year trips, are becoming more common. This leads to greater exposure to the diseases that are found in the country, or countries, that are visited.
  • Holidays involving overseas travel to rural areas, where standards of hygiene and sanitation may be lower, are now more common. Medical treatment may also be more difficult to find in rural areas.

Some countries require anyone wishing to enter to have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). For example, Saudi Arabia requires proof of vaccination against certain types of meningitis for visitors arriving for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages (religious journeys).

Many tropical countries in Africa and South America will not accept travellers from an area where there is yellow fever, unless they can prove that they have been vaccinated against it.

Vaccination
Vaccination or immunisation is usually given by an injection that makes the body's immune system produce antibodies that will fight off a virus.

Diseases
A disease is an illness or condition that interferes with normal body functions.

When you need to be vaccinated will depend on where you are going and what diseases are present in the country, or countries, that you are visiting.

For specific travel advice, including vaccinations and malarial prophylaxis you should contact your GP or travel clinic.

See here for general travel advice for International travellers.

International travel and health is a WHO publication is a reference book for doctors and nurses, giving health advice. Available at http://www.who.int/ith/en/

As well as any new vaccinations that you need, also make sure that your existing vaccinations are up to date and have booster jabs if necessary. In Ireland, the childhood immunisation programme covers a number of diseases. Other vaccines are recommended for those at risk, so for example, the seasonal flu jab is usually recommended for people over the age of 65. 

Considerations

Exactly which vaccinations you need will depend on a number of factors. Certain activities may place you at higher risk of getting some diseases. In particular, consider the following:

  • The country, or countries, you are visiting. In some cases, the region of a country you are visiting will also be important.
  • When you are travelling. Some diseases are more common at certain times of the year, for example during the rainy season.
  • Where you are staying. In general, you will be more at risk of getting diseases in rural areas than in urban areas. 
  • If you are backpacking and staying in hostels, or camping, you may be more at risk than those on a package holiday who are staying in a hotel.
  • How long you will be staying. The longer your stay, the greater your risk of being exposed to diseases.
  • Your age and health. Some people may be more vulnerable to infection than others, while some vaccinations cannot be given to those with a particular medical condition.
  • What you will be doing during your stay. For example, whether you will be spending a lot of time outdoors, such as trekking or working in rural areas.
  • If you are working as an aid worker you may come into contact with more diseases if you are working in a refugee camp, or helping after a natural disaster.
  • If you are working in a medical setting. For example, a doctor or nurse may require additional vaccinations.
  • If you are in contact with animals, you may be more at risk of getting diseases that are spread by animals, such as rabies.

If you are only travelling to countries in northern and central Europe, North America or Australia, it is unlikely that you will need to have any vaccinations. If you are travelling outside these countries, it is likely that some vaccinations will be required.

If possible, see your GP or visit your travel health clinic at least eight weeks before you are due to travel, because some vaccinations need to be given well in advance. Make sure that you tell your GP if you are doing any of the activities mentioned above that may place you at greater risk.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Speak to your GP or travel health health doctor before having any vaccinations if:

  • you are pregnant
  • you think you might be pregnant
  • you are breastfeeding

In many cases, it is unlikely that a vaccine given while pregnant or breastfeeding will cause problems for the baby. However, your GP will be able to provide you with further advice.

People with immune deficiencies

For some people travelling overseas, vaccination against certain diseases may not be advised. For example, if:

  • You have a condition that affects your body's immune system, such as HIV or AIDS.
  • You are receiving treatment that affects your immune system, such as chemotherapy (a treatment for cancer).
  • You have received a recent bone marrow, or organ, transplant.

Your GP will be able to provide you with further advice.

Vaccination
Vaccination or immunisation is usually given by an injection that makes the body's immune system produce antibodies that will fight off a virus.

Diseases
A disease is an illness or condition that interferes with normal body functions.

 

Cholera

Cholera can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting. This can quickly lead to severe dehydration, and can be fatal. Cholera is spread through contaminated food, particularly shellfish and water.

High-risk areas: cholera is found throughout the world, particularly in areas with poor sanitation, including parts of Africa, India, South East Asia, the Middle East and parts of Central America.

The cholera vaccination is not recommended for most travellers. For most people, normal food and water hygiene precautions will be enough to prevent the infection.

The cholera vaccination is recommended for:

  • aid workers helping in disaster areas, or refugee camps, or
  • backpackers heading to remote areas of a country where cholera is a risk, and where they will not have access to medical care.

The vaccine

For adults and children over six years of age, two doses of the vaccine are needed to protect against cholera for two years. After this, a booster will be required. The vaccine is taken orally (by mouth), as a small amount of liquid to be swallowed.

Children who are 2-6 years of age will need to have three doses of the vaccine. This will protect them for six months after which time they will need to have a booster.

For all age groups, the doses must be given at least one week apart, but no more than six weeks apart. The vaccinations should be completed at least one week before travelling. 

The cholera vaccine cannot be given to children under two years of age.

Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that is spread through droplets from the coughs and sneezes of people with the condition. It affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the skin, and it can be fatal.

High risk areas: sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South East Asia and South America.

In Ireland, children are vaccinated against diphtheria as part of the childhood vaccination programme. This means that many people in Ireland will already be fully vaccinated against diphtheria.

The vaccine is recommended for anyone travelling to a high risk area and who:

  • has not been vaccinated before,
  • has not been fully vaccinated (in Ireland you should receive five doses of the diphtheria vaccine), or
  • had their last dose of the diphtheria vaccine 10 years ago, or longer.

The vaccine

Children under 10 years of age should receive their diphtheria vaccine according to the primary childhood immunisation schedule. see www.immunisation.ie

Children aged 10 years of age, or over, and adults who have never been vaccinated, will need to have three doses of the vaccine, one month apart. You can have a booster dose 5-10 years after this, followed by a second booster dose after another 10 years. You will then be protected for life.

Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated (received five doses of the vaccine), or has not had a booster dose in the last 10 years, will need to have a booster dose of the diphtheria vaccine

The diphtheria vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines, such as tetanus and polio. The diphtheria vaccine cannot be given to infants who are under two months of age.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver that is caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is caught through contaminated food and water, or through person-to-person contact if there is poor personal hygiene.

High risk areas: the Indian, African, Central American, and South American sub-continents, the Far East, and Eastern Europe.

The Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for:

  • anyone who is travelling to areas of moderate or high risk for prolonged periods, particularly if sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor,
  • anyone who is going to live, or stay for a long time, in a country where hepatitis A is endemic (constantly present), and
  • anyone with chronic liver disease because hepatitis A can be more serious for people with this condition.

Vaccination is not considered necessary if you are travelling to Northern, or Western, Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, or Japan.

The vaccine

A single injection of the vaccine should be given two weeks before you leave, although it can be given up to the day of your departure if necessary. This will protect you against hepatitis A for about a year. A booster dose, given 6-12 months after the first, will protect you for up to 20 years.

A combined hepatitis A and B vaccine, and a combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine are also available. These vaccines may be useful if you require protection against both diseases.

The hepatitis A vaccine cannot be given to infants who are under one year of age.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver that can cause flu-like symptoms, liver failure, and can be fatal. It is spread through contact with infected blood, or body fluids - for example, through sexual intercourse or sharing needles. 

High risk areas: hepatitis B occurs worldwide but, in particular, it may be found in Eastern Europe, Russia, India, China, South and Central America, Africa, South East Asia, and many of the South Pacific islands.

The risk of hepatitis B for tourists is usually considered to be low. However, some activities will increase your risk - for example, having unprotected sex, injections, or body piercings. 

The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for travellers in high risk areas who:

  • may behave in an unsafe way - for example, having unprotected sex, or injecting drugs, working as a relief worker, or working in a medical setting,
  • may stay in a high or medium risk area for a long period of time, or
  • may require medical care while in a high or medium risk area. 

The vaccine

Hepatitis B vaccination is part of the primary childhood immunisation programme in Ireland. Several different vaccines are available for hepatitis B. Most require a course of three doses in order to provide protection. The second dose is usually given one month after the first dose, and the third dose is then given five months later.

Once you have completed the vaccination course, and a blood test has confirmed that you are immune, you will be protected against hepatitis B for life. Healthcare workers are advised to have a booster dose after five years.

A combined hepatitis A and B vaccine is also available. The hepatitis B vaccine can be given from birth.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is passed to humans by bites from infected mosquitoes. It is usually mild but in some cases it can cause inflammation (swelling) of the brain (encephalitis), leading to permanent brain damage or death.

High risk areas: tropical north east Australia and East Asia - including China, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

The Japanese encephalitis vaccination is recommended for anyone travelling to a high risk area who will be:

  • staying for a month or longer, particularly if visiting rural areas or travelling just after, or during, the monsoon season,
  • visiting rice fields or travelling close to pig farming areas, even if only for a short time, or
  • cycling, camping, or working in fields, even if only for a short time. 

The vaccine

There are two possible vaccines for Japanese encephalitis. Ideally, they need to be completed a month before you leave. One vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose given 28 days after the first. This vaccine is only suitable for people who are over 18 years of age.

The alternative vaccine consists of three doses, and is suitable for people who are over one year of age. The second dose is given after seven days, and the third dose is given 21 days after this. This vaccine needs to be completed at least 10 days before you leave, in case you have an allergic reaction.

Both vaccines will require a booster after one year. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is not suitable for children who are under one year of age.

If there is not enough time to complete a normal course of the vaccine, you may be able to have an accelerated course. This involves two doses being given one week apart, or three doses with a week in between each dose. This still needs to be completed at least 10 days before you travel. You will need to have a booster three months later.

Meningococcal meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial infection that can be serious, or even fatal, if not treated quickly. It is spread through contact with droplets from the coughs and sneezes of people with the condition.

There are different groups (types or strains) of meningococcal bacteria that cause different meningococcal infections. Groups B and C are the most common in Ireland, and vaccination against group C meningitis is now part of the primary child immunisation programme. Groups A, Y, and W135 are more common elsewhere in the world.

High risk areas: parts of Africa and Saudi Arabia.

Vaccination against groups A, C, Y and W135 meningitis is recommended if you are travelling to a high risk area and you will be:

  • staying for longer than one month,
  • backpacking,
  • living with locals in rural areas,
  • attending the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages (religious journeys to Mecca, the centre of the Islamic world) in Saudi Arabia, or
  • doing seasonal work in the Hajj area of Saudi Arabia.

Visitors arriving in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, or to undertake seasonal work in the Hajj area, require proof of vaccination against groups A, C, Y and W135 meningitis.

The vaccine

The quadrivalent vaccine will protect you against groups A, C, Y and W135 meningitis. This should be given 2-3 weeks before you travel.

For adults and children who are over five years of age, a single dose of the quadrivalent vaccine provides protection for about five years. For children who are under five years of age when they were first vaccinated, the vaccine gives protection for 2-3 years.

For infants who are between two months and two years of age, the initial dose of the vaccine must be followed by a second dose three months later.

The meningitis vaccine is not suitable for infants who are under two months of age.

Vaccination
Vaccination or immunisation is usually given by an injection that makes the body's immune system produce antibodies that will fight off a virus.

Diseases
A disease is an illness or condition that interferes with normal body functions.

Bacteria
Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease and some are good for you.

Fever
A fever is when you have a high body temperature of 38C (100.4F) or over.

Encephalitis
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. This can develop as a result of infection (usually viral) or when the immune system attacks the tissue of the brain by mistake (post-infectious encephalitis).

Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.

 

Where further advice is required

Speak to your GP before having any vaccination if:

  • you are pregnant,
  • you are breastfeeding,
  • you have an immune deficiency, or
  • you have any allergies.

Poliomyelitis

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a serious infection that is caused by a virus. It is spread through contact with human faeces (stools), contaminated food and water, or person-to-person contact.

High risk areas: several countries in Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. In particular, Nigeria, Niger, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.

In Ireland, children are vaccinated against polio under the childhood immunisation programme. This means that many people in ireland will already be fully vaccinated against polio.

The polio vaccination is recommended for anyone travelling to a high risk area who:

  • has not been vaccinated before,
  • has not been fully vaccinated or
  • had their last dose of the polio vaccine 10 years ago, or longer.

The vaccine

Children who are under 10 years of age will receive their polio vaccine as part of the childhood vaccination programme. See www.immunisation.ie

Children who are 10 years of age, or over, and adults who have never been vaccinated, will need to have three doses of the vaccine, each one month apart. You can have a booster dose 5-10 years after this, followed by a second booster dose after another 10 years, and you will then be protected for life.

Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated against polio (received five doses of the vaccine), or who has not had a booster dose in the last 10 years, will need to have a booster dose of the polio vaccine.

The polio vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines, such as diphtheria and tetanus. The polio vaccine is not suitable for infants who are under two months of age.

Rabies

Rabies causes spasms, extreme thirst, fear of water (hydrophobia), madness, and paralysis, and it is almost always fatal. Rabies is usually spread through the saliva of an animal which is carrying the virus.

High risk areas: rabies is found in animals almost everywhere, but most human cases occur in Asia, Africa, and South and Latin America.
 
Vaccination against rabies is usually carried out as a precautionary measure, in case you are bitten by an animal that might have rabies and medical attention is not available.

The rabies vaccine is recommended for anyone who is:

  • travelling to an area where rabies is common in animals (such as jungle habitats), for one month or more, and where there is no access to prompt, reliable, and safe medical care,
  • travelling to an area where rabies is common in animals for less than one month, but you may be exposed to rabies because of your travel activities, such as trekking in a jungle, or
  • working abroad in close contact with animals, such as veterinarians or animal handlers at zoos. 

The vaccine

Vaccination usually requires a course of three doses for protection. The second dose is given seven days after the first. The third dose is given 21, or 28 days, after the first, depending on which vaccine is used.

Vaccination should be completed before your departure to allow your body to develop full immunity. Depending on which rabies vaccine is used, a booster dose will be needed every 2-3 years, or every 2-5 years, to ensure continued protection.

There is no minimum age for one of the rabies vaccines, and the other is usually given from one year of age onwards.

Tetanus

Tetanus is a serious infection that affects the body's nervous system, and it can be fatal. Tetanus bacteria are present in soil and manure and can enter the body through a wound or cut.

High-risk areas: tetanus is found throughout the world. Any location where medical attention may not be available if you hurt yourself is considered to be a high risk area. 

In Ireland, children are vaccinated against tetanus under the childhood immuniation programme. This means that many people in ireland will already be fully vaccinated against tetanus.

A tetanus vaccination is usually recommended for anyone who:

  • has not been vaccinated before,
  • has not been fully vaccinated (in Ireland you should receive five doses of the tetanus vaccine), or
  • is travelling to a country with limited medical facilities, and whose last dose of the tetanus vaccine was more than 10 years ago.

The vaccine
 
Children who are under 10 years of age will receive their tetanus vaccine as part of the childhood vaccination programme. See www.immunisation.ie for more details.

Children who are 10 years of age, or over, and adults who have never been vaccinated, will need to have three doses of the vaccine, each one month apart. You can have a booster dose 5-10 years after this, followed by a second booster dose after another 10 years, and then you will be protected for life.

Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated (received five doses of the vaccine), or has not had a booster dose in the last 10 years, will need to have a booster dose of the tetanus vaccine

The tetanus vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines, such as diphtheria and polio. The tetanus vaccine is not suitable for infants who are under two months of age.

Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis is a serious infection that can cause flu-like symptoms and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), and can be fatal. It is usually spread through tick bites, but it can also be caught through drinking unpasteurised milk.

High risk areas: the far eastern part of the former Soviet Union, including eastern Russia and Siberia, some parts of China and Japan, western Russia, Austria, Hungary, the Balkans, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Scandinavia. Tick-borne encephalitis is mainly found in forested areas.

The tick-borne encephalitis vaccine is recommended for anyone who:

  • plans to live in a high risk area,
  • plans to work in a high risk area - for example, as a farmer or forest worker, or
  • plans to travel to high risk areas during late spring or summer, particularly if camping or hiking.

The vaccine

The vaccination requires a course of three doses for full protection. The second dose is given 1-3 months after the first, and provides immunity for about one year. A third dose, given 5-12 months after the second, provides immunity for up to three years.

A booster dose can be given up to three years after the third dose for continued protection. Boosters can continue to be given every 3-5 years if protection is still necessary.

If there is not enough time before you travel to complete a normal course of the vaccination, you may be able to have an accelerated course. This will involve two doses being given two weeks apart. Two weeks after the second dose, 90% of people who receive the accelerated course will have immunity against the condition.

The tick-borne encephalitis vaccine is not suitable for children who are under one year of age.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that is spread through droplets from the coughs and sneezes of people with the condition. It can cause a cough, weight loss, and night sweats, and can usually be cured with antibiotics.

High risk areas: South America, Africa (sub-Saharan and north west) and the tropical Asia-Pacific regions, including the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia.

The TB vaccine may be recommended for:

  • anyone who has not been vaccinated, depending on where they are travelling to and what they will be doing, and
  • children under 16 years of age who are going to be living or working with local people in a high risk area for more than three months.

The vaccine

The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) provides protection against TB. The vaccine is part of the childhood immunisation programme in Ireland

If you need to be vaccinated against TB, you will first be given a Mantaux skin test. This checks how sensitive you are to the TB vaccine. Your skin reaction will be checked 2-10 days later. A positive reaction suggests that you have already been infected with the bacteria that cause TB and you may already be immune. If so, you will not need to have the vaccine.

If you have a negative result to the Mantaux test, you will be given the vaccine as a single injection. It provides 70-80% protection against TB.

The BCG can be given from birth, and children who are under six years of age do not usually need to have the Mantaux test first.

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is a potentially fatal infection that causes diarrhoea and a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or over. It is spread through contact with human faeces (stools), usually as a result of poor sanitation and personal hygiene.

High risk areas: typhoid is found throughout the world, but it is more likely to occur in areas where there is poor sanitation and hygiene. In particular, risk areas include Africa, the Indian subcontinent, South and South East Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America.

The typhoid fever vaccination is recommended for anyone who is travelling to a high risk area. In particular, it is recommended for people visiting the above areas who will:

  • be staying with, or visiting, the local population, or
  • have frequent, or prolonged, exposure to conditions where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor.

The vaccine

Ideally, the typhoid vaccine should be given at least one month before you travel but, if necessary, it can be given closer to your travel date. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so you will still need to take precautions to avoid contaminated food or water, and pay careful attention to your personal hygiene. 

A single injection of the vaccine protects against typhoid fever for about three years. A combined typhoid and hepatitis A vaccine is also available.

The typhoid fever vaccine is not suitable for infants who are under two years of age.

Yellow fever

Yellow fever can cause headaches, a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or over, bleeding, and it can be fatal. It is passed to humans through bites of infected mosquitoes.

High risk areas: parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Some countries require you to have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before they will let you into the country. The certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever.

The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for anyone who is:

  • travelling to, or living in, an area or country where yellow fever is found, or
  • travelling to a country that requires an ICVP for entry.

The vaccine

Anyone who is nine months of age, or over, can be given a single dose of the vaccine that will provide protection against yellow fever for 10 years. After this time, a booster dose will be required.

You will need to have the yellow fever vaccine a minimum of 10 days before you are due to travel. This is because your ICVP is only valid 10 days after your vaccination and then remains valid for 10 years.

Children who are 6-9 months of age should only be vaccinated against yellow fever if the risk of developing the condition during travel is unavoidable. The yellow fever vaccine is not suitable for children who are under six months of age.

If you cannot be vaccinated against yellow fever for medical reasons (or for infants who are under nine months of age), your GP may be able to issue you with a medical waiver letter. This will explain why you are unable to have the vaccine.

Vaccination
Vaccination or immunisation is usually given by an injection that makes the body's immune system produce antibodies that will fight off a virus.

Diseases
A disease is an illness or condition that interferes with normal body functions.

Bacteria
Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease and some are good for you.

Fever
A fever is when you have a high body temperature of 38C (100.4F) or over.

Encephalitis
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. This can develop as a result of infection (usually viral) or when the immune system attacks the tissue of the brain by mistake (post-infectious encephalitis).

Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.

 

 

Getting up-to-date advice

For specific travel advice, including vaccinations and malarial prophylaxis you should contact your GP or travel clinic.

See here for general travel advice for International travellers.

International travel and health is a WHO publication is a reference book for doctors and nurses, giving health advice. Available at http://www.who.int/ith/en/

Where further advice is required

Speak to your GP before having any vaccination if:

  • you are pregnant,
  • you are breastfeeding,
  • you have an immune deficiency, or
  • you have any allergies.

Not all travel vaccinations are free, and not all will be available from your GP. If you know which vaccinations you need, it is a good idea call your GP surgery to find out whether they are available there and how much they will cost.

If your GP cannot provide the vaccinations that you need, they should be able to refer you to a specialist travel clinic.  

Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres which may be GP practices or travel health clinics.

Your GP or travel health clinic may charge for these vaccines (including an administration fee). It is worth taking this into consideration when budgeting for your trip.

Vaccination
Vaccination or immunisation is usually given by an injection that makes the body's immune system produce antibodies that will fight off a virus.

Diseases
A disease is an illness or condition that interferes with normal body functions.

Some people may experience side effects after having some travel vaccinations.

Cholera vaccine

After having the cholera vaccine, up to 1% of people may experience symptoms that are similar to a mild stomach upset, such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and nausea (feeling sick). However, severe reactions are rare.

Diphtheria vaccine

After having the diphtheria vaccine, it is common for there to be temporary soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site. This usually disappears within a few weeks and is not a cause for concern. Severe reactions are very rare.

Hepatitis A vaccine

After having the hepatitis A vaccine, some people develop temporary soreness, redness, and hardening of the skin at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site. This usually disappears quickly and is not a cause for concern.

Much less common side effects include:

  • tiredness,
  • headache,
  • loss of appetite,
  • nausea, or
  • a slightly raised temperature (mild fever) - a normal temperature is between 36-36.8C (96.8-98.24F). 

Hepatitis B vaccine

After having the hepatitis B vaccine, some people develop temporary soreness and redness at the injection site. Severe reactions are rare.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine

After having the Japanese encephalitis vaccine, around 20% of people develop temporary soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site. About 10% of people who have the vaccine experience other side effects such as:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F),
  • headache,
  • tiredness,
  • chills,
  • dizziness,
  • nausea or vomiting, and
  • abdominal pain.

In a small number of cases (about 0.6%), an allergic reaction to the vaccination can occur. The reaction can cause a rash, swelling of the face and, in rare cases, breathing problems.

Any allergic reaction usually occurs within minutes of having the injection, although in some cases, it can be delayed for up to two weeks. This is why the course of injections to provide protection against Japanese encephalitis should be completed at least 10-14 days before you travel.

Meningococcal meningitis vaccine

After having the ACWY vaccine to protect against groups A, C, W135 and Y meningitis, about 10% of people experience soreness and redness at the injection site. This usually lasts around 24-48 hours. Mild fever can also occur; it is usually more frequent in young children than in adults. Severe reactions are very rare.

Poliomyelitis vaccine

After having the poliomyelitis vaccine, it is common for there to be temporary soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site, which usually disappears within a few weeks and is not a cause for concern. Severe reactions are very rare.

Rabies vaccine

After having the rabies vaccine, some people experience temporary soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site for 24-48 hours after the vaccination. In rare cases, some people may also experience:

  • a mild fever,
  • headache,
  • muscle aches,
  • vomiting, and/or
  • a rash.

Severe reactions are very rare.

Tetanus vaccine

After having the tetanus vaccine, it is common for there to be temporary soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site, which usually disappears within a few weeks and is no cause for concern. Severe reactions are very rare.

Tick-borne encephalitis vaccine

After having the tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, some people experience temporary soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Some people may also experience a mild fever within 12 hours of having the vaccination. This usually disappears within 24-48 hours. Severe reactions are rare.

Tuberculosis vaccine

After having the tuberculosis vaccine, children may feel dizzy and they may develop a rash.

In all cases, a small, raised, red spot usually develops at the site of the injection within 2-6 weeks. This can grow into a circle up to 7mm in diameter, which may be crusty where fluid has dried on the surface, and it may also be bruised. A small scar is usually left at the site of the vaccination.

Typhoid fever vaccine

After having the typhoid fever vaccine, some people experience temporary soreness, redness, swelling, or hardness at the injection site. About 1% of people experience a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F), while less common side effects include:

  • abdominal pain,
  • headache,
  • nausea, and
  • diarrhoea.

Severe reactions are rare.

Yellow fever vaccine

After having the yellow fever vaccine, between 10-30% of people will experience mild side effects including:

  • headache,
  • muscle pain,
  • soreness at the injection site, and/or
  • mild fever.

Reactions at the injection site usually occur within 1-5 days after being vaccinated, although other side effects may last for up to two weeks.

An allergic reaction to the vaccine occurs in one case out of every 130,000 doses of the vaccine that are given. 

Yellow fever vaccine-associated neurological disease (YEL-AND)

Very rarely, the yellow fever vaccine is associated with a neurological disease, known as yellow fever vaccine-associated neurological disease (YEL-AND).

Neurological means it affects the nerves and the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. YEL-AND occurs in around four cases for every one million doses of the vaccine that are given.

The symptoms of YEL-AND include:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above,
  • headache,
  • confusion,
  • focal neurological deficit  - problems with a nerve function in a specific place - for example, a problem with the nerves in your tongue that affects your ability to speak,
  • coma - a sleep-like state when your are unconscious for a long period of time, or
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome- when your immune system attacks the nerves that control movement, causing them to become inflamed (swollen).

Yellow fever vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease (YEL-AVD)

The yellow fever vaccine is also associated with a viscerotropic disease that is known as yellow fever vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease (YEL-AVD).

Viscerotropic means that it affects the viscera (your internal body organs, such as the heart or lungs). YEL-AVD occurs in around three cases for every one million vaccines that are given.

Symptoms of YEL-AVD include:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above,
  • headache,
  • muscle pain,
  • hepatitis (inflammation of the liver),
  • hypotension (low blood pressure), and
  • multiple organ failure.

People who are 60 years of age, or over, are at slightly higher risk of developing YEL-AND and YEL-AVD. For example:

  • YEL-AND occurs in 18 cases for every one million doses of the vaccine that are given to people who are 60 years of age or over, and
  • YEL-AVD occurs in 22 cases for every one million doses of the vaccine that are given to people who are 60 years of age or over.

Vaccination
Vaccination or immunisation is usually given by an injection that makes the body's immune system produce antibodies that will fight off a virus.

Diseases
A disease is an illness or condition that interferes with normal body functions.

Bacteria
Bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms that live in the body. Some can cause illness and disease and some are good for you.

Fever
A fever is when you have a high body temperature of 38C (100.4F) or over.

Encephalitis
Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. This can develop as a result of infection (usually viral) or when the immune system attacks the tissue of the brain by mistake (post-infectious encephalitis).

Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.

 

 

 

Content provided by NHS Choices www.nhs.uk and adapted for Ireland by the Health A-Z.

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