Do you need travel vaccinations?

Wherever you’re travelling to, take time to read our advice on whether you need vaccinations. Either way, make sure you have good travel insurance with medical cover for your trip.

Doctor stethoscope resting on top of a world map

Travel and Covid-19 vaccinations

For the latest on vaccination, testing, self-isolation or quarantine requirements to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 either on arrival in your destination or your return to the UK, please check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice.

How can I find out if I need a vaccination?

It all depends on your travel plans. If you’re visiting a big city in the EU, you probably won’t need any jabs at all. If you’re visiting a tropical country, it’s a lot more likely.

The NHS Fit for Travel website lists vaccine requirements by country, giving information on which vaccines, boosters and certificates are required, including information on malaria and yellow fever.

Even if you’re feeling on top form, there’s still a risk of catching something while you’re abroad, whether it’s from food, water, insects or animals. A visit to your GP or a Travel Nurse is the best way to find out what you need to do.

If you don’t need any jabs, they’ll still be able to assess any health risks that you might not have considered, and give you advice before you travel.

Just let them know where you’re travelling to, and be as specific as possible. They’ll be able to tell you exactly which you’ll need, and which vaccinations are available for free (or at low cost) on the NHS.

Even though it can be a bit of a hassle, you’ll be glad when they’re all done.

When you go, make sure you're protected with good travel insurance

Can I get travel vaccinations on the NHS?

You can get the following vaccines on the NHS:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and polio (combined)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Meningitis
  • Polio
  • Typhoid

These will be offered free, or possibly at the charge of a prescription depending on your surgery. High-street chemists will also offer travel vaccines, but these will usually be more expensive than the NHS.

What other vaccinations might I need?

Other vaccinations and treatments are available on the NHS, but you’ll have to pay more than the cost of a prescription. Here are some you may need to consider:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Malaria tablets (available over the counter)
  • Other meningitis vaccines
  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Yellow fever

For a full list, including when vaccinations are likely to be required, check the NHS website.

They’re not the kind of thing you can book the week before you’re due to fly. For example, the rabies vaccine requires three jabs given over six weeks.

If you do need jabs last minute, it may be quicker to book an appointment at a private clinic rather than your GP, though it’ll probably cost more. However, most vaccines require a bit of time to be effective, so don’t assume you’re covered as soon as you have the injection.

Once you know which vaccinations you need, shop around. Some chemists and clinics may offer the vaccinations at lower prices.

Staying safe

Even though you’ve had your vaccinations, there’s still no guarantee against being infected with a disease or illness. Take the usual sensible precautions, like washing your hands and carrying anti-bacterial gel while you’re visiting a country where infectious diseases are more common. And make sure you're protected by a good travel insurance policy that will cover what you need it to when you go.

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