Do I Need Special Vaccines Before Travel?

Published: November 08, 2022
Hannah Post
By Hannah Post, PharmD

If you are traveling to another country, there are many things you need to think about. Your health and safety should be at the top of that list. Access to healthcare varies in different parts of the world, and you may need certain vaccines or medications to protect you from local diseases. Preparing ahead of time for your trip may prevent the need to seek medical care in a foreign country.


Do I need special vaccines before I travel?

Depending on where you are traveling, you may be at higher risk of certain diseases. Many travel destinations require or recommend vaccines that are not a part of the typical vaccination schedule including those for yellow fever, cholera, and typhoid. The CDC has a website with all recommended and required vaccinations, including COVID-19 guidance. You can also make an appointment with a travel medicine specialist 4-6 weeks before you leave for a personalized consultation.


Travel medicine specialists and clinics can be found by searching the International Society of Travel Medicine’s clinic directory. Your primary care provider can also offer travel health and safety information and prescribe preventative medications. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get all your necessary vaccines. Some vaccines cannot be given together and must be spread out over weeks.



Depending on your travel destinations, time and length of travel, lodging accommodations, and planned activities, you may have additional health and safety needs prior to travel. Travel medicine specialists, your primary care provider, and your local pharmacist can help answer questions and prepare you for your travels. Pharmacies are one-stop shops for filling your medications, buying over-the-counter products and first aid supplies, and even getting some of the vaccines you may need.

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