Itâ€™s amazing to learn that nearly one in four UK holidaymakers travel to areas high-risk for life-threatening diseases without getting the complete protection from a simple vaccine. Whilst getting a cold when youâ€™re on holiday can get a bit annoying, spending your whole trip, and maybe longer, in a foreign hospital with a serious and often deadly, infectious disease doesnâ€™t bare thinking about. If your travels will take you through places like Asia, South America or Africa you will mostly likely need a vaccination for travelling so get clued up before you leave.
Getting the right vaccination
Itâ€™s important to look into where you will be staying and what types of vaccinations are needed before your trip. You wonâ€™t always need vaccinations for the country youâ€™re planning to visit and if you do, the jabs you will need will depend on where you will go. The Travel National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) is the go-to place for current information regarding vaccinations for your specific country, or countries, of interest.
The Cost of Vaccination
Depending on where you will be travelling to, getting vaccinated could turn out to be quite costly. If you choose to go to a private travel clinic, you may be looking to spend around Â£50 for a single dose of a vaccine, which all adds up if you need multiple doses or more than one vaccination. If youâ€™re lucky, your local GP may be able to give you all the vaccinations you need at a low price, sometimes even for free. Typhoid, diphtheria, hepatitis A and the polio and tetanus boosters are usually free on the NHS but you may have to search around for a NHS travel clinic, as your GP surgery may not be able to administer these to you. A small prescription charge (currently Â£7.85) may be applicable but this depends on the practice and is still considerably cheaper than the private costs.
Private Vâ€™s NHS
Besides being cheaper than a private clinic, going to your GP surgery to get your vaccinations is also beneficial because they will hold your medical records which will have information on previous vaccinations (some vaccines can be effective up to 10 years after administration), as well as the status of your UK immunisations and would be able to give you a booster of these if they are due.
On the other hand, you GP surgery will only have limited vaccines available. A private travel clinic will most likely have the most up-to-date information of current vaccines available and have well trained travel nurses to answer any of your questions. You may have to pay a consultation fee but this is usually waivered if you go ahead with the vaccinations.
Who shouldnâ€™t get vaccinated?
Vaccinations should be avoided if you are, or you think you may be pregnant or if you a breastfeeding. In addition, if you have a condition that impairs your immune system such as HIV or AIDS, or have recently, or are currently, receiving treatment that affects your immune system (chemotherapy or recent bone marrow/organ transplants) then you should consult your attending doctor for advice about the safety of your required vaccinations.
If you need to go ahead with vaccinations, whether at a NHS or private clinic, itâ€™s important to start planning around two months before you leave. Your body will not be immediately protected as soon as you are vaccinated and some take a minimum of six weeks before they are effective. In addition, a full course of vaccinations may include several trips.