Special Vaccination Requirements

Special Vaccination Requirements

Special note for children under the age of 2

Parents of children under the age of 2 should consult their child's doctor regarding the possibility of accelerating the routine schedule of childhood immunizations prior to travel abroad.

Of particular concern is the diphtheria and tetanus vaccinations. If you are planning travel to high-risk areas for diphtheria, which include the former Soviet Union, Albania, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Brazil, Philippines, Indonesia, and many countries in Africa and Asia, your child may need a fourth dose of the DtaP, the diphtheria vaccine, prior to departure. Consult your doctor for more information.

Before traveling to any destination outside the United States, it is important to review your vaccination schedule with your doctor. This should be done as far in advance as possible so that any special vaccinations can be scheduled and administered. The CDC recommends that people planning to travel review the vaccines below with their doctor before travel begins.

The primary vaccine series

Review your immunization history with your doctor and be sure that infants and children are on schedule with their vaccine series. Adults should have completed the primary series of all childhood vaccines. A booster of the adult tetanus-diphtheria (Td) is recommended every 10 years. If an adult has not yet received a tetanus booster containing the pertussis (whooping cough)  vaccine known as Tdap, he or she should receive that vaccine instead of a Td booster alone. After the one-time administration of the Tdap vaccine, the Td alone every 10 years is appropriate.

What additional vaccines are recommended?

The CDC divides travel vaccines into routine, recommended, and required categories. Your doctor will review all categories with you, specific to the area you will be traveling in.

The following is a list of vaccines to be considered: 

The influenza (flu) vaccine is recommended by the CDC for everyone age six months and older on an annual basis.

Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for people 65 years or older and for other high-risk individuals (those with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung problems including asthma, kidney problems, or problems with their immune systems).

For people who have received a complete series of the polio vaccine, those over the age of 18 traveling to areas of the world where polio is still a risk should receive an additional single dose of the vaccine.

Two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended for people born after 1956 who are traveling outside the United States. .

What other vaccinations may be needed?

Many of these vaccines can be given at the same time without any decrease in their effectiveness. Consult your doctor for more information regarding the proper administration of these vaccines and medications.

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