Typically it is advised to see a GP or head to a private travel clinic 8 weeks before you travel, largely because some vaccinations need to be administered in advance of your travel plans to allow your body to build an immunity. There are also vaccines which require multiple doses, meaning it’s impossible to have all the doses in the few days before you travel. Naturally, more rural destinations and backpacking across multiple countries increase any risk associated with a disease.
How do I know what vaccination I need?
There are a number of countries which require proof of a specific vaccination such as yellow fever or polio which must be documented on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before entering or leaving a country. A further example is Saudi Arabia which requires proof of a vaccination against certain types of meningitis for visitors arriving for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
Which vaccinations are free?
The following vaccinations are free on the NHS;
- Polio, diphtheria, tetanus jab combined.
- Hepatitis A
Which vaccinations will I have to pay for?
The following vaccinations will require you to pay;
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
- Meningitis vaccines
- Tick-borne Encephalitis
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Yellow fever
The cost of vaccines not available on the NHS will vary depending on the vaccine and doses required, however you must check the NHS website for more detail on vaccinations prior to travel.