After months of finding nothing but travel vaccine advice for US citizens and none for the UK, I finally decided to write one myself…
Your travel advice/vaccines will be dealt with by a nurse at your general practitioner’s surgery and you should make an appointment (if possible) approximately six months in advance of your leave date or a minimum of 8 weeks (anything less and you’re kind of asking for trouble). N.B. Remember, however, that surgeries are busy and you could sometimes wait up to two weeks before getting your appointment.
You should be sent some kind of questionnaire and consent form that you will need to fill out in order to let the nurse know where you’re going and if you have any pre-existing medical conditions etc.
Under the NHS (through childhood vaccinations) you should already be covered by the following:
– Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio
– Meningitis, measles and rubella (MMR)
Free travel vaccines under NHS:
– Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio (if you need a booster or missed them as a child)
– MMR (again, as a booster or if you missed them)
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis B can be given free under the NHS ONLY if you work within an occupation that requires it such as a nurse etc.
– Hepatitis B
– Japanese Encephalitis
– Tick-borne Encephalitis
– Yellow Fever
Cholera and Malaria are chargeable prescriptions which will require you to pay for the issue of the drugs AND the pills themselves at the pharmacy e.g. £10 for a prescription for malaria tablets AND whatever the pharmacist charges per tablet.
You should get issued with a a bright green booklet (handy when everything else in your bag are boring colours) which will include a bright yellow certificate listing all the vaccines you have had, where you’ve had them, who gave them and even when you should come back for the booster (if it’s necessary).
There is no uniform regime, it all depends on where you’re going and what you’re planning on doing. For instance, I went to Japan but didn’t have the Japanese Encephalitis jab because it’s only really for people that are planning to spend time in rural, farmland area for large amounts of time. Likewise, if you’re hitting the ‘tourist trail’ in Asia and won’t be going too rural, you might not need rabies. It really depends on where you’re going, how long you’re going for and what you’ll be doing.
If you want some good overall (but not definitive) advice then check out Fit for Travel which is run by an NHS body. It gives you overall advice on what vaccines you will need in which country and it’s usually what the nurses use at the surgery to double check their advice. Likewise, Malaria Hot Spots gives you a lot of information on the pesky insects.
As well as your GP surgery many pharmacies and adventure travel agents can conduct certain travel vaccines themselves. Lloyds Pharmacy offer a good range and large STA Travel stores such as London Victoria also offer one-stop travel clinics.
Want anymore help? Give me a shout!