Traveler's Vaccine

It is best to start your travel shots early, as the timing and spacing of vaccines can be lengthy and quite complicated.

Hepatitis B Vaccine is recommended for all college students and is given in a series of 3 injections over 4 to 6 months. The first dose is given any time, the second dose is given 1-2 months after the first dose and the third dose 4-6 months after the first dose. Hepatitis B is a serious disease which can cause long term (chronic) illness. Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person.

Hepatitis A (Havrix) Vaccine is given in a series of 2 injections 6-12 months apart. The first (primary) dose should be completed at least two to four weeks prior to expected exposure to Hepatitis A virus. The second (booster) dose, recommended 6-12 months after the primary dose provides virtually 100% immunity for at least 10-20 years and probably for life. Hepatitis A is very wide spread worldwide and is contracted by consuming contaminated food or drink or by direct person-to-person contact.

Immune Globulin should be given as close to departure date as possible and at least 14 days or more after the administration of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine), and at least three weeks after the administration of varicella vaccine. I.G. is given to prevent viral hepatitis A and lasts for no more than 4-6 months. Persons traveling to high risk areas less than four weeks after their first dose of Hepatitis A vaccine may wish to receive IG. When administered within two weeks following exposure to Hepatitis A IG is more than 85% effective in preventing Hepatitis A.

Influenza Vaccine may be desired for travel November to April in the Northern Hemisphere and May to October in the Southern Hemisphere. Influenza viruses are active year round in the tropics. Protection develops after about 2 weeks and may last up to a year.

Japanese Encephalitis is given in a series of 2 shots at days 0 and 28. The last dose should be given at least 10 days before arrival in the infected area. It should generally not be given the same day as other vaccines. It will be necessary to wait at the clinic 1/2 hour after receiving each dose to monitor possible adverse reactions. Additional printed Japanese Encephalitis information is available from the Immunization Clinic. 

Malaria No vaccine is available, but travelers can protect themselves by taking an oral medication to prevent malaria.

Meningococcal meningitis vaccine may be given to travelers at risk, and college students who choose vaccination to reduce their risk for potentially fatal meningococcal disease. For international travel it should be administered 1-2 weeks before departure. The duration of protection is 3-5 years or possibly longer.

MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) is a live vaccine and should be given either the same day or 28 days apart from Varicella and Yellow Fever vaccines. Two MMRs after one year of age and at least one month apart should confer lifetime immunity. It should not be given for three months after getting Immune Globulin. When Immune Globulin needs to be given following MMR a waiting period of 2 weeks is recommended. Women who receive MMR should not become pregnant for at least 3 months after immunization. Tuberculin testing (IDPPD), if indicated, can be done on the same day or 4 to 6 weeks following MMR.

Polio Vaccine (injectable) can be given, once, to adults, who have previously completed a primary series and traveling to countries where there is risk of exposure to wild polio. Polio is a viral disease spread by fecal-oral or oral-oral (respiratory) contact.

Rabies Vaccine (pre-exposure) If you plan to stay for more than 30 days in a country where rabies is a constant threat, especially if you travel to remote areas, or if you travel to endemic countries where rabies immune globulin or tissue culture vaccines are unavailable you should strongly consider predeparture rabies vaccination. Rabies vaccine is given in three doses on days 0, 7, and either 21 or 28. Additional printed rabies information is available from the Immunization Clinic.

Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) is one of the oldest and safest vaccinations. Tetanus boosters are given routinely every 10 years. (In the case of a tetanus-prone injury it may be repeated after five years). Tetanus is an often fatal neuromuscular disease. Transmission typically occurs via contamination of wounds, burns and punctures.

Typhoid Vaccine may be given by single injection or taken in a capsule form. Capsules must be refrigerated and taken in four doses on days 0, 2, 4 and 6. Oral typhoid vaccine should be completed at least one week prior to exposure. Oral vaccine immunity lasts approximately five years. Injectable typhoid vaccine should be received at least two weeks prior to exposure. Injectable vaccine immunity lasts approximately 2 years. Typhoid fever is contracted by ingestion of contaminated food and water.

Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine Two doses of vaccine given four to eight weeks apart are recommended for healthy adolescents and adults with no history of the disease. Varicella virus is endemic in most countries throughout the world. Varivax is a live vaccine and it should be given the same day or 30 days apart from MMR or Yellow Fever vaccines. Varicella vaccine should not be administered less than five months after receiving Immune Globulin, and when IG follows Varicella Vaccine, a waiting period of three weeks is recommended.

Yellow fever Vaccine is a live vaccine and should be given the same day or 30 days apart from MMR, Varicella or oral typhoid vaccines. It may be given with, before or after Immune Globulin without restriction. Yellow fever and cholera vaccines should be given at least three weeks apart. After immunization, an International Certificate of Vaccination is issued. To satisfy international requirements, immunization must be given not less than 10 days and no more than 10 years prior to planned date of entry.