Travel vaccinations – painful but at least you get a lollipop

Travel vaccinations, do they leave you with the same range of motion as a penguin that’s been punched in both wings? Yes! Are they worth it. Yes!

Today I took a trip down to my local travel clinic to run through our list of travel spots and establish which vaccinations husband and I would need. I thought we’d need about three, she says naively, when actually it came to a whopping, grand total of six. Four administered by injection into the upper arm and two taken orally. However, I’m now feeling pretty damn confident that I can take most of whatever each country can throw at me and I got a lollipop out of it.

Vaccination Form Virus Occurs
Yellow Fever Injection The virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. This vaccination is a must if you are going to sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America.  Make sure you get an  International Certificate of Vaccination which they will most likely charge and additional fee for. Some countries require all travelers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before they can enter the country. Other countries require proof of vaccination only if travelers have been in a risk area.
Hepatitis A Injection The virus is transmitted through direct person-to-person contact; contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested from sewage-contaminated water; or from contaminated raw fruits, vegetables, or other foods. Common throughout the developing world
Typhoid Injection Typhoid fever is a serious disease spread by contaminated food and water. Travelers to Asia, Africa, and Latin America are especially at risk, and the highest risk for typhoid is in south Asia.
One injection for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio and Pertussis Injection Diphtheria is an illness that is spread through coughing and sneezing. If an infected person has skin sores, it can also be spread by touching the sores. Endemic in many countries in Africa, South America, Asia, the South Pacific, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe and in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Tetanus is an illness that can occur after an injury with a contaminated object. Tetanus occurs throughout the world, and international travel generally does not increase the risk.
Polio is a disease caused by a virus that affects the nervous system and is mainly spread by person-to-person contact. Polio can also be spread by drinking water or other drinks or eating raw or under-cooked food that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Travelers going to certain parts of Africa and Asia may be at risk for polio.
 Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” is a contagious disease spread when infected people cough and sneeze near others. Pertussis is seen in all countries, so all travelers are at risk. Pertussis rates are the highest in developing countries.
Cholera Effervescent taken orally. A person can get cholera by consuming contaminated drinking water or food. The disease is endemic to parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America.
Malaria Course of tablets taken orally. Malaria is a disease spread through mosquito bites. Malaria occurs in Africa, Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the South Pacific

For much more detailed information on these and other vaccinations plus up to date travelers health information go to CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

So there you have it, if you’re going to any of the aforementioned countries it’s highly recommended that you get your travel vaccinations up to date. Any discomfort and expense you suffer now is a fraction compared to what you could incur if you got sick abroad. Not to mention putting a bit of a dampener on what I’m sure will be a marvelous trip.


“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”