Some counties require specific vaccinations to be given before entry to that country is permitted. However, the majority of vaccinations are highly recommended due to prevalence of disease in that country and lack of proximity to medical care. Before departure, all travellers should be up-to-date for polio, tetanus and diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella vaccinations (this varies depending on age, time since last vaccination and country visited.
Other vaccinations that may be recommended include:
Typhoid: Available in injectable form. Recommended for many countries for a stay of 2-3 weeks plus.
Hepatitis A: Injectable vaccine, very important in protecting against a type of hepatitis easily caught via contaminated food or water. The vaccine is long lasting (20 years plus) and effective, consisting of 2 injections 6-12 month apart.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine recommended for all individuals. Specific risk to travellers occurs via unprotected sex, drug use, body piercing / tattooing, and exposure during medical procedures including use of un sterile medical equipment. An effective vaccine, consisting of 3 injections over a 6-month or 3 week period (depending on departure date and risk factors).
Rabies Prophylaxis: Vaccination consists of 3 injections at 0,7 and 28 days and may be considered for longer term (eg one month or more), rural/isolated areas travel or for those at risk such as vets, animal handlers etc. The vaccine is relatively expensive, discuss your risk with your travel health adviser. Preventative measures include not patting or handling dogs, monkeys or other mammals. It is important that you know how to first aid a potentially rabid wound if bitten.
Meningitis Meningitis: This is a potentially serious, even fatal disease, present in many countries (including India, Nepal, sub-Saharan Africa, South America and for Haj pilgrims to Mecca) usually on a seasonal basis. Vaccination consists of one injection and is highly recommended if visiting areas where the disease is common.
Japanese B Encephalitis Encephalitis: A mosquito-borne disease present in certain countries on a seasonal basis. The need for vaccination depends on country visited, time of year, extent of rural travel, type of accommodation and length of stay in an at risk area.
Yellow Fever An effective vaccine required when travelling to certain areas of Africa and South America. An international certificate of vaccination is often required for entry into many countries if the traveller has been in a yellow fever zone. One injection is required and must be given by a licensed yellow fever vaccinator.
Cholera: A more effective cholera vaccination is now available. Discuss your need for vaccination with your travel healthcare provider.
MMR A measles, mumps, rubella vaccine or booster may be required depending on age and vaccination history.
Influenza/pneumonia: Vaccination is recommended for certain travellers (eg elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions, land/sea based tours, plane travel).
Malaria: No vaccine available. Prevention includes avoidance of mosquito bites and use of anti-malaria medication prior to, during and after time in a 'malaria' area. Discuss details with your travel health adviser. In some instances, malaria medication is not necessary or only necessary for certain areas of a particular country. Bite avoidance measures are vitally important.
Tuberculosis (TB): Risk to travellers is generally low, however it may be recommended for travellers to certain countries (such as Asia, Africa, parts of the Americas and the Pacific) and with certain profiles (eg children living in risk countries for long periods).