Travel vaccinations

Which vaccinations and boosters do I need?

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Exactly the travel vaccinations you need

Please note, our Travel Consultations do not include a COVID-19 PCR Test. If you wish to book a COVID-19 PCR test, please click here.

The vaccines on the national vaccination schedule help to protect you from infections which could affect you or your children in the UK. Everyone in the UK should have these vaccinations as standard when they are growing up.

When you travel abroad, you often need additional vaccinations to protect yourself from infections which pose a threat in other parts of the world. Which vaccinations you need depends on where you are going and the time of the year of your trip.

We know getting travel vaccinations isn’t the most exciting part of planning your next trip. That’s why we make it as easy as we can for you to get the right vaccinations. During your consultation, the nurse or pharmacist will check which vaccines you need – this will depend on where you’re going, which activities you have planned and your medical history.

We’ll never recommend vaccines you don’t need – If a vaccine is optional, we will explain your options so you can decide whether you would like to have it.

Cholera vaccination from £28

About the cholera vaccination

The cholera vaccination is given orally and the course for adults involves two doses, which need to be taken a minimum of 7 days apart. In order to be protected abroad, you need to finish the course at least one week before travelling. Food and drink should be avoided 1 hour before and 1 hour after vaccination.

You may need the cholera vaccine if you’re travelling to a risk country or an area with poor sanitation. This may apply if you’re travelling to an area affected by natural disasters or if you will be working in slums or refugee camps.

Adults are protected for two years after the vaccination, children require more regular boosters and may need to take three doses of the cholera vaccine to be fully protected.

What is cholera?

According to the World Health Organisation, there are roughly 3‚5 million cholera cases and 100,000‚ 120,000 deaths worldwide due to cholera every year. A cholera vaccine provides protection from the infection and is 85% effective. The vaccination is particularly important for people travelling to remote regions as well as aid workers and medical professionals working in cholera areas.

Cholera is caused by an infection with vibrio cholerae bacteria. Although improvements to the sanitation system and an improved knowledge of personal hygiene have eradicated cholera in large parts of Europe, the illness is still present in many countries. Cholera bacteria spread through contaminated food and water, as well as contact with faeces. Cholera is not commonly passed directly from one person to another.

The illness often remains symptomless but it can cause symptoms affecting the digestive tract, such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Some patients also complain about stomach cramps. When left untreated, cholera can lead to complications such as dehydration and a lack of electrolytes, especially in a hot climate. In severe cases, dehydration can be fatal. A cholera vaccine is available for travellers who may be at risk.

How is cholera transmitted?

Toggle content goes heCholera is transmitted via contaminated water and food stuffs. A very important step in preventing infection is to be in control of what you eat and where your drinking water comes from. The safest option is bottled water. Alternatively, you can boil water and use a filter or purification tablets to make it safe to drink. While staying in a cholera area, you need to take particular care to wash your hands regularly, especially before touching food. You should cook all food well before you eat your meal while it is still hot (or keep it refrigerated afterwards). The nurses at our travel clinics are happy to advise you about the cholera vaccine and give you tips on how to stay healthy while travelling.

Cholera infection risk areas

Cholera is primarily prominent in regions with a poor sanitation system and cholera epidemics often occur in the aftermath of war and natural disaster.

In 2015, outbreaks occurred in the following countries:

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Please note: Risk areas change. To get up to date recommendations about your travel destination, search your country here.

Side effects

The cholera vaccine is usually well tolerated, with less than 1 in 100 patients experiencing side effects such as an upset stomach. Severe reactions to the vaccine are rare.

Hepatitis A and B vaccination from £77

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a viral infection, which affects the human liver. The hepatitis A virus is usually ingested via contaminated food or water and is endemic to countries with an insufficient sanitation system. It can spread rapidly and is known to cause sudden epidemics. After an incubation period of 2 – 4 weeks, patients usually develop hepatitis A symptoms such as fever, digestive problems and jaundice. The severity of the symptoms varies in different people and can range from mild to very severe. In rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to complications such as cholestasis and liver failure. According to the World Health Organisation, every year there are about 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A worldwide.

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a type of hepatitis, a viral infection which can cause damage to the liver. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B virus is not usually transmitted via contaminated water but rather from person to person. It is often passed during sex or when using contaminated needles and medical equipment. Hepatitis B has a long incubation period of 30 – 180 days and is often symptomless.

Possible hepatitis B symptoms are feeling or being sick, tiredness and headache as well as flu-like symptoms. Some patients also develop a yellowing of skin and eyes, which is called jaundice. The infection can persist for a long time and become chronic hepatitis B, resulting in liver damage and failure.

If you are travelling to an area where hepatitis B is a common illness, you require a hepatitis B vaccine. The same goes for healthcare workers and medical professionals, who are more likely to be exposed to the infection.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 600,000 people die every year as a result of hepatitis B. The hepatitis B vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences.

Side effects

As most vaccinations, hepatitis a and b vaccination can cause side effects in some patients.

Very common side effects are redness, swelling, bruising, pain or a burning sensation at the injection site. Common side effects include fever, feeling drowsy, feeling irritable, digestive problems, feeling unwell, headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness and diarrhoea.

Vaccine schedule

The course will depend on your age and when you are travelling. There are two different brands of vaccine, so your schedule will depend on which one you receive.

The most common schedule for last minute travellers consists of three doses, the second of which is given seven days after the first, followed by the third 14 days after the second dose. This schedule requires an additional dose after 12 months to complete the course.

Please note: For travellers under 18 combined schedules can take several months so non-combined vaccines may be preferable to ensure you’re protected in time – your nurse or pharmacist will recommend the most suitable vaccines and schedules.

Vaccination schedule

The most common schedule for last minute travellers consists of three doses, the second of which is given seven days after the first, followed by the third 14 days after the second dose. On this schedule, you need an additional dose 12 months later to remain protected. The vaccine schedule differs depending on your age, how soon you are travelling and which brand of vaccine you receive. The nurse or pharmacist will recommend the most suitable vaccine and schedule.

Boosters

Once you have completed the full course you will be protected against hepatitis A for 25 years and against hepatitis B for 5 years. You may need additional boosters thereafter to stay protected.

Who needs it?

Recommended when travelling to a risk country.

Age restrictions

The vaccine can be given to children over the age of 12 months. However, the schedule for children can take several months to complete. If you are travelling in the near future, you may need to use non-combined vaccines for hepatitis A and B to ensure protection prior to travel.

Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccination from £85

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a viral infection, which affects the human liver. The hepatitis A virus is usually ingested via contaminated food or water and is endemic to countries with an insufficient sanitation system. It can spread rapidly and is known to cause sudden epidemics. After an incubation period of 2 – 4 weeks, patients usually develop hepatitis A symptoms such as fever, digestive problems and jaundice. The severity of the symptoms varies in different people and can range from mild to very severe. In rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to complications such as cholestasis and liver failure. According to the World Health Organisation, every year there are about 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A worldwide.

What is typhoid?

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. It is a highly contagious and potentially lethal disease, which spreads via contaminated foods and water. As typhoid bacteria are primarily found in faeces, the infection is particularly common in regions with poor sanitation. Common symptoms of typhoid fever include a high temperature, headaches, nausea, muscle pain, digestion problems such as constipation or diarrhoea, tiredness and confusion. Some patients also experience a rash.

Vaccination schedule

The vaccination consists of one dose to be given at least two weeks before travel

Boosters

You will need a booster for hepatitis A after one year to remain protected. After receiving this booster, you are protected for 25 years. You will need a booster for typhoid after three years to stay protected.

 

Who needs it?

Recommended when visiting risk countries.

Age restrictions

We provide this vaccine for children over the age of 15.

Hepatitis A vaccination from £55

About the hepatitis A vaccine

A hepatitis A vaccine requires one single injection, which should ideally be scheduled to take place at least 2 weeks before travelling abroad. It provides protection for one year, after which you will require a booster dose. If you have this booster dose you won’t need further boosters for 25 years.

In addition to the hepatitis A vaccination, there are combined vaccination courses for hepatitis A and typhoid as well as hepatitis A and hepatitis B. If you are unsure as to which vaccine is best for you, your Superdrug travel nurse will be able to recommend the most suitable treatment for you.

Side effects

After the injection, your skin around the injection site may harden and you may experience soreness or swelling. This is a very common side effect, along with feeling a little tired after the vaccine or temporarily having a high temperature.

Common side effects

  • headache
  • disturbances of the gut such as diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • vomiting or abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • myalgia
  • arthralgia
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • lymphangitis
  • malaise

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a viral infection, which affects the human liver.

How is hepatitis A transmitted?

The hepatitis A virus is usually ingested via contaminated food or water and is endemic to countries with an insufficient sanitation system and poor access to clean food and water. It can spread rapidly and is known to cause sudden epidemics.

Which symptoms does it cause?

After an incubation period of 2 – 4 weeks, patients usually develop hepatitis A symptoms such as fever, digestive problems and jaundice. The severity of the symptoms varies in different people and can range from mild to very severe. In rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to complications such as cholestasis (an interruption to bile excretion) and liver failure. According to the World Health Organisation, every year there are about 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A worldwide.

Hepatitis A risk areas

Areas affected by hepatitis A include the South American continent, the African continent as well as most countries in Asia. The hepatitis risk in any area depends on local hygiene practices and the local sanitation system. The hepatitis risk in any area depends on local hygiene practices and the local sanitation system.

The following increase your risk of contracting hepatitis A:

  • poor sanitation
  • lack of safe water
  • use of recreational drugs
  • living in a household with an infected person
  • being a sexual partner of someone with acute hepatitis A infection
  • travelling to areas of high endemicity without being immunised

People living in high risk areas usually contract hepatitis A early in their lives and develop immunity that protects them, which is why large outbreaks in high risk areas are quite rare. However, visitors travelling to these destinations have not previously been exposed to the illness and are therefore at a higher risk of infection.

 

Preventing hepatitis A

Whenever you travel to areas with an increased risk of viral or bacterial infections, you should follow a few simple rules to limit your exposure to local diseases. Most of these rules are easy to follow and very effective in reducing your risk of hepatitis A. It is best to be careful with foods if you do not know how they have been prepared and cooked. You should only drink boiled or bottled water and wash your hands very carefully after going to the toilet and before preparing food. If you think you have symptoms of hepatitis, always seek advice from a doctor.

Hepatitis B vaccination from £45

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a type of viral hepatitis which can cause damage to the liver. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B virus is not usually transmitted via contaminated water but rather via bodily fluids, such as blood or semen. It is often passed during sex or when using contaminated needles and medical equipment. Hepatitis B has a long incubation period of 40 – 160 days and is often symptomless.

Possible hepatitis B symptoms are feeling or being sick, rash, joint pain, loss of appetite, tiredness and headache as well as flu-like symptoms. Some patients also develop a yellowing of skin and eyes, which is called jaundice. The infection can persist for a long time and become chronic hepatitis B, resulting in liver cancer, damage and failure.

If you are travelling to an area where hepatitis B is a common illness, you may require a hepatitis B vaccine. The same goes for healthcare workers and medical professionals, who are more likely to be exposed to the infection.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 887,000 people died as a result of hepatitis B and its complications in 2015.

Getting vaccinated

Immunisation requires three to four individual doses, administered by injection. The nurse will assess which course is suitable for you. Most travellers would be recommended three doses, one month apart.

Healthcare workers are advised to carry out a blood test one to four months after the course is completed, to check whether vaccination was successful. Travellers are at a lower risk of contracting hepatitis B and do not require a blood test.

Those thought to have a continued high risk of infection should consider having a booster after 5 years. Boosters may be needed after exposure to the infection. If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis B please seek medical attention urgently.

The hepatitis B vaccine can cause mild side effects, such as redness and soreness at the injection site. Occasionally, patients feel tired within the first few days after the injection.

Who needs the hepatitis B vaccine?

Hepatitis B occurs in all parts of the world. In some areas, however, there is an increased risk due to the infection being widespread. Hepatitis B risk areas include parts of eastern Europe, Africa, South and Central America, South East Asia, Russia, India, China as well as some South Pacific Islands. If you are planning to travel to any of these destinations, your Superdrug travel nurse can advise on whether you require a hepatitis B vaccine. Superdrug travel clinics also provide a combined hepatitis A and B vaccine for travellers who require immunisations against both infections.

Preventing hepatitis B

Travellers are particularly at risk if they have an accident and require medical treatment in a country with a high incidence of hepatitis B and a health care system with limited resources. In these circumstances, injections might be re-used or blood transfusions may not be screened for hep B. The hepatitis B vaccine helps prevent infection and protects you in case of such an emergency.

Hepatitis B is also transmitted during sexual intercourse. If you have sexual intercourse during your travels, always ensure you use a condom to prevent transmission. Avoid procedures which involve piercing your skin, such as tattooing and acupuncture.

Side effects of the hepatitis B vaccine

Common and very common side effects include:

  • temporary soreness
  • redness or hardening of the skin around the injection site
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • gastro-intestinal disturbances
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • lymphangitis
  • malaise
  • muscle pain
  • irritability

Vaccination schedule

Three doses. The second injection is given four weeks after the first and the third injection needs to follow five months later. Accelerated course available.

Boosters

If you’re at high risk of Hepatitis B, then you’ll need a booster jab 5 years after primary immunisation.

Who needs it?

When going for a long or permanent stay; recommended for people who are at risk of needing hospital treatment while abroad (for example due to chronic illnesses).

Age restrictions

Can be given from birth if there is a high risk of infection.

When should I test for immunity after hepatitis B immunisation?

Testing for evidence of immunity after vaccination is not routinely recommended, except those in certain groups. In those at risk of occupational exposure, particularly healthcare and laboratory workers, antibody levels should be checked one to two months after the completion of the full vaccination course.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccination from £89

About Japanese encephalitis vaccination

Superdrug Health Clinics provide a Japanese encephalitis vaccination which consists of two injections. The second dose needs to be administered 28 days after the first, so you need to allow plenty of time before you travel.

Primary immunisation should be completed at least one week prior to potential exposure to Japanese encephalitis virus.

Once you have received both doses, you are protected against Japanese encephalitis for 12-24 months. After one year, you require a booster.

What is Japanese encephalitis?

Japanese encephalitis is a viral disease which, like malaria, is transmitted by mosquitoes. In many patients, Japanese encephalitis symptoms remain mild and the infection may even go unnoticed. However, in some cases, the virus causes severe symptoms and leads to serious complications.

Typical encephalitis symptoms include nausea and vomiting, seizures, headaches and confusion. The Japanese encephalitis virus affects the human brain and can lead to inflammation and swelling in the brain. In very severe cases, the infection can lead to brain damage.

There is no specific medication to treat and cure this type of encephalitis. Treatment usually focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting the immune system in its effort to fight the virus. A Japanese encephalitis vaccine provides medical protection for travellers at risk of catching the virus.

The World Health Organisation states, that there are roughly 70,000 new cases of Japanese Encephalitis worldwide each year. Half of these cases were in China, and around three quarters of all cases were children under the age of 15 years.

Side effects of the Japanese encephalitis vaccine

Allergic reactions are rare but can be serious. Common, less worrying side effects of the Japanese encephalitis vaccine, are redness and swelling at the site of injection, high temperature, nausea, dizziness and vomiting as well as abdominal pain. You may also experience muscle pain. These side effects should pass quickly.

Risk areas

Japanese encephalitis is primarily found on the Asian continent. High risk countries include China, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Your risk of encephalitis in some of these countries will vary depending on the time of year of your visit. Due to the increased number of mosquitoes, the risk of encephalitis can be higher during the rainy seasons.

Generally, the risk for travellers is regarded as relatively low. However, travellers visiting remote areas and backpackers who spend prolonged periods of time outdoors have a higher risk of infection, as do children.

Spending time in a location close to pig farms or rice fields also increases your risk of contracting the virus, as mosquitoes thrive in damp areas and can pass the virus from animals to humans.

Your Superdrug Health nurse or pharmacist will be able to help you decide whether you require a Japanese encephalitis vaccination.

Preventing Japanese encephalitis

As with other illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes, you can protect yourself from Japanese encephalitis by avoiding mosquito bites. Insect repellent, mosquito nets and long-sleeved clothing will help you stay safe when travelling to an encephalitis area.

You may also wish to travel outside the rainy season to limit your exposure to mosquitoes and the infections they carry. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is the safest option for prevention and provides over 90% protection against the virus.

Malaria tablets from £0.65

Which malaria tablets do I need?

Which malaria tablets you can use depends primarily on where you’re travelling to. The malaria parasite in some parts of the world has developed a resistance to chloroquine. If you are travelling to any of these countries, you need to take Malarone or doxycycline to be protected.

During your travel consultation, our nurse or pharmacist will tell you which antimalarials are suitable for the country or countries you’re travelling to. You can also check malaria advice for your destination by searching for the country name here.

Which tablets are best for you also depends on your medical history and the activities you have planned. Doxycycline can increase your sensitivity to sunlight and may therefore be less suitable if you’re likely to spend extended periods of time in the sun.

If several types of malaria tablets are suitable for your itinerary you can choose whichever you prefer – some travellers prefer to take tablets daily whereas other find it easier to remember taking their medication if it’s taken daily.

Malarone

Malarone costs more than the other antimalarials but is suitable for malaria prevention in all countries, including those where the parasite has developed a resistance to other antimalarials.

It needs to be taken daily from two days before you enter a risk area until seven days after your return.

Nausea and vomiting, headache, diarrhoea and stomach pain are very common side effects with Malarone. Common side effects include unusual dreams, dizziness, rash, mood disorders, insomnia, cough, and blood changes.

Doxycycline

Doxycycline is suitable for malaria in all parts of the world and available at a lower cost than Malarone.

You need to start your course two days before you travel, taking one tablet per day. Unlike Malarone, Doxycycline needs to be taken for four weeks after your return from a malaria area.

Doxycycline can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun than usual, so you need to take care to use sunscreen and avoid spending time in the sun wherever possible to avoid sunburn. You mustn’t use a sunbed while taking doxycycline.

Other possible side effects with doxycycline include loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea and other stomach problems.

Chloroquine and Proguanil

Chloroquine and Proguanil is one of the more affordable antimalarials but it’s only suitable for malaria prevention in a limited number of countries.

The dosage for this medication is dependant on your weight. For adults over 45kg, you’ll need to take the prescribed dose of Chloroquine once every week on the same day; Proguanil should be taken once every day. You should ideally start taking both tablets week before you enter a malaria area, and continue taking it them until four weeks after leaving a malaria area. If this medication is for an adult or child under 45kg, our trained travel specialists will be able to let you know how many tablets to take and when to take them.

Common side effects include gastrointestinal disturbances (e.g. diarrhoea), headache and skin reactions (e.g. rash). Please refer to the manufacturer’s patient information leaflet for a full list of side effects.

How malaria tablets work?

Malaria is caused by a parasite which is transmitted via mosquito bites. Some malaria tablets work by stopping the parasite from multiplying in red blood cells meaning your immune system can fight the infection before you develop symptoms. Others work by preventing the parasite developing in the liver so they prevent the parasite from progressing to infect red blood cells and cause symptoms.

In order to be protected, it is important that you take the full course of tablets you have been prescribed. Malaria tablets only act on the parasite during specific stages of its lifecycle so if you stop taking your tablets too early you may still develop malaria if you were infected while abroad.

 

About Malaria

Malaria is endemic to over 100 countries. It can cause severe symptoms, such as a high fever, digestive problems, muscle pain and convulsions. If left untreated, it can be fatal.

If travelling to a risk area, it is important that you protect yourself. Malaria tablets offer effective protection but you still need to practise insect bite avoidance while in a risk area. You should wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers as well as using an insect repellent which contains DEET. You may also want to take a mosquito net with you to avoid being bitten during the night.

If you experience malaria symptoms at any point during or after your trip, seek medical help immediately, even if you have been using an antimalaria

Who needs malaria tablets?

You need malaria tablets if you’re travelling to a risk area. In addition to taking malaria tablets, it is important that you practise insect bite avoidance.

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccination from £45

About the MMR vaccination

You need to get your first dose of this vaccine at least 6 weeks before you travel, then have a second dose at least 4 weeks afterwards. You should have your second dose 2 weeks or more before you travel.

There is no need for a booster dose of this vaccine.

Who is this vaccine for?

This service is for adults who may be at risk of contracting measles, mumps or rubella, including:

  • People who are travelling to a country that is high risk for measles, mumps, or rubella, or a country that is experiencing an epidemic for one of these conditions (see below for more details)
  • People who have not completed a course of these vaccinations before
  • People over 18 years old:
    • Those under 18 can see their GP for a ‘catch up vaccination’
    • The vaccine can be taken from 12 months; OR 9 months old in some cases, but we only provide this service to those over 18

Who shouldn’t receive this vaccine?

Because it contains live viruses as part of the vaccine,it isn’t suitable for some individuals who are at a higher risk of harm . This includes people:

  • Who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Who are currently unwell with a fever
  • With a suppressed immune system
  • With untreated tuberculosis

The vaccine may also be unsuitable for some other people due to the components or the way it’s given. This include people:

  • With hereditary bleeding disorders
  • Who avoid pork-based products
  • With an egg allergy
  • With a latex allergy
  • And others

A nurse will check you against the full list during your consultation for the vaccine.

Which countries have a risk of MMR?

Due to an increased risk of these diseases, it is advised to don’t travel to the following places without getting vaccinated for MMR:

  • Much of Asia
  • Africa
  • The indian sub-continent
  • South America
  • Saudi Arabia (for Hajj or Umrah for example) – this is strongly recommended due to recent outbreaks

MMR is part of routine childhood vaccination and that there has also been outbreaks in the following areas, so vaccinating against MMR is always a good idea:

  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Israel
  • Several European countries including the UK

What are measles, mumps, and rubella?

These are highly infectious conditions that can have serious or potentially fatal outcomes, such as deafness, meningitis or swelling of the brain (encephalitis). Children have been routinely vaccinated against them since the vaccine was introduced in 1988. Outbreaks don’t happen very often in the UK but it is still important to keep your vaccine status up to date.

Many people have heard the myth that vaccines like the MMR vaccine have been linked to autism. This was due to one study that was completely discredited, written by a man who was stripped of his license to practice medicine in the UK. Since this study almost 20 years ago, no other study has shown this link to exist. Please do not avoid getting vaccinated as there is no such risk involved.

Side effects

As will all vaccinations, there are some potential side effects.

Very common/common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness, itching or swelling at the site of the injection
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • General aches, feeling unwell or weak
  • Stomach upset, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle and or joint pains
  • Lymphangitis (lymph node inflammation)
  • Feeling irritable or tired
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
Meningitis ACWY Vaccination from £50

About Meningitis ACWY vaccine

If you are planning to travel abroad, you need to check whether you will be entering a meningococcal meningitis risk area. Meningitis is particularly prominent in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, an area sometimes referred to as the “meningitis belt”, where meningitis A is the most frequent cause of the illness, but there have been recent outbreaks of W, X and C.

The meningitis vaccine consists of one single dose, which is administered by injection. You should arrange an appointment with your Superdrug travel nurse or pharmacist at least three weeks before the date of your departure.

It is recommended that students attending university for the first time, receive a single dose of Meningitis ACWY. There is currently a routine NHS vaccine programme for all children in year 9.

The meningitis ACWY vaccine provides protection for at least 5 years. No boosters are currently required except for certificate purposes. Some countries, for example Saudi Arabia, demand that you provide a meningitis ACWY certificate prior to entering the country.

What is meningitis?

There are several types of meningitis which can affect travellers, including meningitis A, C, W, and Y. They are all types of meningococcal meningitis and are caused by bacteria. As opposed to viral meningitis, bacterial meningitis is very dangerous. Causing an inflammation of the meningeal tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord, Neisseria meningitidis bacteria can cause severe brain damage. Around 10% of meningitis patients can die of the infection, even with treatment. The symptoms of meningitis vary from person to person but usually, the infection involves a severe headache, a high temperature and vomiting. Some patients also suffer from a stiff neck, are unusually sensitive to light and feel exhausted. The most typical symptom of meningitis is a skin rash, which occurs in many but not all cases. In addition to the traditional meningitis C vaccine, there is a meningitis ACWY vaccine, which provides protection against all four meningitis types included in its name. It is particularly suitable for travellers who may be at risk of contracting any one of the four types.

Meningitis certificate

Some countries, for example Saudi Arabia, demand that you provide a meningitis ACWY certificate prior to entering the country. The vaccine is compulsory for the Hajj  pilgrimage.

Meningitis certificate for students

It is especially recommended that students attending university for the first time receive a single dose of Meningitis ACWY.

When to see a doctor

Bacterial meningitis can be treated with an antibiotic. Early treatment is vital in order to prevent severe symptoms and possible irreparable damage to the brain. If you notice any meningitis symptoms in you or a fellow traveller, you should always seek help at a local hospital. Meningitis is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention, which is not always available when travelling. A meningitis ACWY vaccine protects effectively against type A, C, W, and Y. It does not provide protection against meningitis type B.

Side effects

You may experience some side effects after having received the meningitis acwy jab. These may include fever, nausea, headache and feeling tired. You may also experience some skin irritation at the injection site. Some patients develop a small lump where the injection was given. This lump will resolve by itself within a few weeks.

If you experience any other side effects or if the symptoms do not resolve, see a doctor. If a you have a high fever over 38.5 that lasts more than 24 hours you would also need to see a doctor and ask them to report this.

Very common and common side effects include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Hardening at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Irritability
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Lymphangitis
  • Myalgia
Polio, diphtheria & tetanus vaccination from £32

About the Polio, diphtheria & tetanus vaccination

When given as a booster prior to travel, the polio, diphtheria and tetanus vaccine requires only one injection. If you last had this vaccine more than ten years ago, you’ll need a booster before you travel.

It contains active ingredients to help your body develop an immunity to all three diseases. Don’t worry if you notice redness, swelling or soreness at the site of injection, as this is a common side effect. You may also feel unwell, experience nausea or develop a fever and headache shortly after the jab

What is polio?

Polio is a viral infection, which was very common in the UK during the 1940s and 1950s. Due to widespread polio vaccination, polio no longer exists in the UK. The polio virus causes damage to the nervous system, which can lead to permanent paralysis and death.

Polio survivors often develop post-polio syndrome (PPS) later in life, which causes fatigue and muscle weakness. PPS can occur decades after the polio infection and can not be cured.

If you have grown up in the UK, it is very likely that you were vaccinated during your childhood. If you are planning to travel to a country which has not yet beaten polio, you may need a booster polio vaccine

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by clostridium tetani bacteria. Infection usually occurs if these bacteria enter an open wound after injury. The risk of developing tetanus is particularly high after an animal bite and if the wound has been in contact with soil or manure. The same applies, if the wound contains a foreign body or if there is a delay in the wound being cleaned and treated.

The most typical symptom of tetanus is the stiffness of your jaw muscles, also referred to as lockjaw. Tetanus patients tend to develop cramps and muscle spasms over 1 – 4 days, which can have an impact on their ability to breathe and swallow. The spasms may be accompanied by fever, excessive sweating and an unusually rapid heartbeat. If left untreated, there is a high risk of sudden cardiac death, pulmonary embolism, aspiration pneumonia and kidney failure.

A tetanus vaccine provides reliable protection.

What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a highly contagious infection, which can spread rapidly. It is transmitted through contact with the saliva and mucus of an infected person. Most people in the UK have been vaccinated against the illness, which is why it is a very rare occurrence.

Typical symptoms of diphtheria are a high fever, sore throat, difficulties breathing and a grey or white membrane in the patient’s throat. Patients diagnosed with diphtheria need to be isolated while undergoing antibiotic treatment.

Diphtheria can lead to serious complications and fatal conditions, such as difficulty breathing and inflammation of the heart. To prevent diphtheria, you must ensure your diphtheria vaccine is up to date. If you are travelling to a risk area, you may require a booster diphtheria jab to be safe.

Do I need the polio, diphtheria and tetanus vaccine?

If you are travelling to a risk area for polio or diphtheria, you may need the polio, diphtheria and tetanus vaccine. Whether you require this booster depends on the date of your last vaccination.

If you received your last polio and diphtheria vaccination more than 10 years ago or you didn’t finish your last vaccination course, you will require additional protection before travelling.

The tetanus vaccine is recommended for anyone travelling to an area with limited access to medical facilities. Areas with a high incidence of polio and diphtheria include parts of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

 

Vaccination schedule

One booster dose. If you have never had the vaccine before you may need more than one dose.

Boosters

Every ten years.

Who needs it?

You should have a booster if it’s been more than 10 years since you last had one.

Age restrictions

We provide the vaccine for children over the age of 10.

Rabies vaccination from £58

About the rabies vaccination

The rabies vaccine is used to prevent an infection prior to travelling to a high risk area. It is also used to prevent the illness from spreading to the nervous system after an animal bite. As medical treatment is not always readily available in countries with a high risk, you may need to protect yourself with a rabies injection before leaving the country.

The pre-exposure rabies vaccine is administered with an intramuscular injection and consists of three doses. The three doses need to be given within a specific time period, so you should begin the treatment at least one month before travelling. You will receive the second dose 7 days after the first, the third dose should be received on the 28th day. If there isn’t enough time then the third dose can be administered on the 21st day.

Side effects of the rabies vaccine

The vaccine can cause temporary side effects. The most common rabies vaccine side effects are a mild fever, headache, muscle pain and vomiting. You may also notice a rash or redness and swelling at the site of the injection. These side effects will disappear within 2 to 3 days.

Very common side effects (affects up to 1 in 10 people)

  • headache
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle and joint pain
  • mild pain and redness at the site of injection
  • feeling generally unwell
  • chills
  • swollen lymph nodes

Common side effects (affects up to 1 in 100 people)

  • minor skin reactions, such as hives or a rash
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • abdominal pain
  • vomiting
  • bruising at site of injection
  • fever

The rabies vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, meaning that it does not contain the live rabies virus. This means that you cannot get rabies from the rabies vaccine.

What is rabies?

Rabies is a dangerous viral infection endemic to many countries. According to the World Health Organisation, there are over 55,000 deaths caused by rabies every year (mostly in Africa and Asia). There is no cure or treatment for rabies. Once the infection has taken hold, it is almost always lethal. If you are travelling to a country with a high rabies risk, it is advised that you protect yourself with a preventative rabies vaccine.

Which countries have a high rabies risk?

Rabies occurs on all continents and is endemic to over 150 countries. The rabies virus kills over 55 000 people every year, primarily in Africa and Asia.

It is passed from animals to humans, usually as the result of an animal bite. Once the virus has entered the bloodstream, it quickly spreads to the brain and nervous system, causing rabies symptoms such as itchiness at the infection site, fever and an irrational fear of water. Rabies patients also typically show aggressive behaviour.

Every year, more than 15 million people receive a post-exposure vaccination to prevent the disease from breaking out after an animal bite. Many of those affected by human rabies are children, who are drawn to animals and often unaware of the dangers.

Countries with a particularly high risk of rabies include all countries on the African continent, large parts of Asia and South America. Before travelling, always ensure you are aware of the rabies risk at your travel destination.

 

Avoiding animal bites

You should avoid touching animals while abroad and always seek medical help if you have been bitten. Although rabies is most commonly caught from dogs, the illness can be transmitted by all animals which carry the virus, including bats.

If you notice any bites or scratches after being in contact with an animal, wash the wound carefully and seek advice at a local hospital. If you are travelling with children, please ensure they are aware that they must not touch any animals.

Is rabies curable?

Rabies can still be prevented after a bite or scratch if post exposure treatment is given without delay. However, once the disease has broken out and the patient is showing symptoms it is almost always fatal.

Tick-borne Encephalitis vaccination from £65

About the Tick-borne Encephalitis vaccination

The vaccination involves three individual doses. The second dose will be given 1 to 3 months after the initial dose and the third needs to follow one year afterwards. Once you have completed this course, you will be protected for three years.

Ideally, you should time your tick-borne encephalitis vaccine appointment so that by the time you leave, at least two weeks have passed since the second injection. If you are out of time, it may be possible to carry out the second injection within a shorter period of time.

Your Superdrug Travel nurse will be able to work out a time plan with you. The vaccine causes mild side effects in some patients. It is not unusual for redness or swelling to occur at the site of injection. Tiredness, nausea and headaches are also possible side effects.

According to NHS figures, there are approximately 3,000 hospital admissions caused by Tick Borne Encephalitis in Europe every year (excluding Russia). If you are planning to stay in an area with a high occurrence of infected ticks, a TBE vaccination is the safest way of avoiding the infection. It is particularly relevant if you are planning to spend a lot of time outdoors.

What is tick-borne encephalitis?

Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral infection endemic to many European countries. As the name suggests, the infection is transmitted by ticks, small insects which live in grasslands, woods and shrublands. Ticks live off the blood of host animals. If a tick bites an animal which carries the TBE virus, subsequent hosts are at risk of contracting the infection.

Tick-borne encephalitis initially causes symptoms such as fever, headache, tiredness and muscle pain. As the infection develops, patients tend to develop additional symptoms, including nausea and a heightened sensitivity to light. If the inflammation spreads to the brain and its surrounding tissue, seizures and speech or coordination difficulties may arise.

There is no cure or treatment for tick-borne encephalitis. Patients who only experience first stage symptoms usually recover with the help of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Patients who develop second stage symptoms require hospital treatment, as TBE can cause serious complications. If you are likely to be exposed to ticks carrying the TBE virus, you should consider a tick-borne encephalitis vaccine.

Tick-borne encephalitis risk countries

Ticks in the UK do not carry the TBE virus. However, ticks spreading the virus can be found in many countries in Europe, such as Austria, Bosnien-Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Ukraine. TBE is also known to exist in Siberia and the eastern parts of Russia as well as some regions in China and Japan.

As ticks are inactive during the winter months, tick-borne encephalitis is a seasonal illness. In European regions, ticks become active in spring. Their activity depends on the weather, ticks will begin to appear when the temperatures rise above 6C and remain active until the temperatures fall in November. Whether you require a tick-borne encephalitis vaccine depends on the destination and time of your travels.

Avoiding tick bites

When hiking or working in an area with infected ticks, you should try to avoid being bitten by ticks. Most importantly, you should wear long-sleeved tops and long trousers. It is also best to avoid having a gap between your socks and trousers. You should check yourself regularly and make sure you know how to remove ticks correctly. In addition, there are insecticides which are suitable for repelling ticks.

Typhoid vaccination from £32

About the typhoid vaccination

There are two different typhoid vaccines available in the UK. One is administered orally, the other consists of an intramuscular injection. The oral vaccine consists of three capsules, which need to be taken on alternate days. This type of vaccine is not suitable for people with a weak immune system and is not recommended for children. Superdrug travel clinics only provide the oral vaccine for patients who can’t have the injection.

The typhoid vaccine causes side effects in some patients. Common side effects are soreness around the infection site, as well as swelling and redness. It is also very common to experience a high temperature after the injection. Less common side effects of the vaccine include abdominal pain, headache, nausea and diarrhoea.

Superdrug travel clinics provide the typhoid injection. It is suitable for children from the age of two and provides protection for three years. The vaccine consists of one single dose, which should be administered two weeks before entering a country with a high risk of typhoid. We also provide the oral vaccination in cases where the injection is not suitable.

The typhoid vaccine provides effective protection and is recommended when travelling to a country with a high incidence. The NHS states, that typhoid fever is not common in the UK – only 500 cases occur each year. Most people who develop the infection contract it while visiting relatives in Bangladesh, India or Pakistan.

What is typhoid?

Typhoid fever is caused by a bacterium called Salmonella typhi. It is a highly contagious and potentially lethal disease, which spreads via contaminated foods and water. As typhoid bacteria are primarily found in faeces, the infection is particularly common in regions with poor sanitation. Common symptoms of typhoid fever include a high temperature, headaches, nausea, muscle pain, digestion problems such as constipation or diarrhoea, tiredness and confusion. Some patients also experience a rash.

Preventing typhoid

While travelling through an area with a high typhoid incidence, you should follow some simple rules to avoid an infection with typhoid fever. Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruit, especially if they have been cut. It is also advisable to wash hands frequently, especially before preparing food and eating. The most common source of infection is contaminated water.

In order to prevent typhoid, you should stick to drinking bottled or boiled water. The typhoid vaccine is very effective at preventing the illness. If you are travelling to an area with a high risk of typhoid and hepatitis A, we can offer a combined vaccination course which covers both conditions.

Use this page to see which vaccinations you need when travelling.

Risk countries

Typhoid is uncommon in the UK and most European countries. The infection is known to occur in large parts of the African continent, Central America, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. It is also endemic to regions in South America as well as Asia. You can check whether you need protection against typhoid in the country your visiting by searching for the country here.

According to the World Health Organisation, 21 million people suffer from typhoid every year, with the majority of cases occurring on the Asian continent. The most recent major outbreak of typhoid occurred in the Republic of Congo in 2005. It involved over 40 000 cases of typhoid fever and led to 214 deaths.

Typhoid treatment needs to start as soon as possible after infection to prevent complications. Typhoid tablets contain an antibiotic, which kills the bacteria. Patients usually feel better within a couple of days. If left untreated, typhoid can be lethal. The infection is also known to cause physical as well as mental disabilities if it is not treated or treated with delay. Infected individuals can continue to spread the bacteria, even after the symptoms have subsided.

Yellow Fever vaccination from £60

Yellow fever prevention

In addition to a timely yellow fever vaccination, you should protect yourself from mosquito bites while you are abroad.

Using a mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeved-tops as well as long trousers will deter mosquitoes and reduce your risk of catching an infection. You may also wish to take a mosquito coil or plug-in device with you, to use in your accommodation.

By avoiding swamps and other mosquito breeding grounds, you can minimise your exposure to insect bites. Ideally, you should stay in places with air conditioning or at least insect mesh screening in front of all windows.

Yellow fever countries

Yellow fever is currently known to affect people living in or travelling to 43 countries located on the African continent as well as South America.

African nations known to have a high occurrence of yellow fever include most central African nations, for example the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso.

Travellers planning a trip to South America should consider a yellow fever vaccine if travelling to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia or Venezuela.

Please note: The countries which are considered risk countries are constantly changing. For up to date information on the vaccines you need for your destination, search for the country here.

What is yellow fever?

The World Health Organisation reports that there are about 84,000 – 170,000 severe cases of yellow fever a year, resulting in 29,000 – 60,000 deaths. The most important step in preventing yellow fever is a yellow fever vaccination prior to travel.

Yellow fever is a viral infection, which is passed on by a particular type of mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the virus, occurs primarily in African and South American countries. The mosquito’s bite leads to infection and the typical symptoms of yellow fever, which include fever, vomiting or nausea, headache, muscle pains and a characteristic yellowing of the whites of the eyes (also known as jaundice). Yellow fever is not passed from person to person.

Yellow fever increases the risk of dehydration and can be very dangerous. It can cause haemorrhagic fever (which causes bleeding from the mouth, eyes, ears and stomach) as well as multi organ failure. The virus causes an estimated 29,000 – 60,000 deaths worldwide every year and affects over 170,000 patients. 20% – 50% of yellow fever patients who suffer severe symptoms die of the infection.

The diagnosis of yellow fever involves a blood test, as the symptoms of yellow fever are very similar to those caused by other tropical diseases. There is no specific yellow fever treatment. In mild cases, patients usually rely on painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate the symptoms. In severe cases, hospital treatment is needed.

If you are planning to visit a country where yellow fever is endemic, you need to visit a Superdrug yellow fever centre for a vaccination. The nurse or pharmacist will assess whether the vaccine is suitable for you.

Side effects

Most vaccinations can cause side effects in some patients. The yellow fever vaccine is no exception and you may experience side effects such as headache, muscle pain and fever in the days after you have received the jab. You may also notice swelling or redness at the injection site, which should resolve within two weeks. If you experience any other concerning side effects or do not get better within two weeks, seek medical advice.

Seek urgent medical attention immediately if you notice signs of an allergic reaction after receiving the jab. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include skin rash or hives, swellings and difficulty breathing, as well as feeling weak or faint.

About the yellow fever vaccine

The yellow fever jab is available at your local Superdrug travel health clinic, which is a registered yellow fever centre. You need to arrange your vaccine for a date at least ten days before you travel. Once you have received the vaccine, you are protected for life (there are some exceptions to this rule, under 2 year olds for example may need a booster).

Please note that a four week minimum interval period should ideally be observed between the administration of MMR and Yellow Fever vaccines to ensure these are effective.  If you think you need protection from yellow fever urgently and leaving this gap may not be possible, please talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist for advice.

Yellow fever certificate

A number of countries require a yellow fever certificate, which is called the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). Other risk destinations may not ask you for a certificate, but if visiting a risk area you still need to have the vaccination. Please bear in mind, your yellow fever certificate will only become valid ten days after the injection.

Yellow fever certificates used to expire after a certain number of years. However, they are now valid for life for most people. This includes certificates which were issued before this rule changed in July 2016 and which have an expiry date on them.

If you have been vaccinated at one of our clinics and have lost your yellow fever certificate, our staff will be able to issue a replacement card. We charge an admin fee of £15 for issuing a new yellow fever certificate.

You do not need to pay extra for your first certificate if you receive the jab at one of our clinics.

When should I see a travel nurse?

You should arrange to see a travel nurse at least six to eight weeks before you are planning to leave the UK, as some vaccinations require more than one injection, over the course of several weeks. Your travel nurse can advise you on which vaccines you need. Most travel vaccines are suitable for small children but there are some age restrictions to consider. If you are planning a trip with your baby or toddler, make sure you consult a doctor or travel nurse well in advance of your departure.

Every year, the NHS estimates that almost one in four British holidaymakers will travel without getting vaccinated properly, meaning that they’re potentially exposed to life-threatening infectious diseases. Travelling without immunisation will also put others at risk, too, as you could bring an infection back to the UK with you.

However late in the game it is, make sure you do all that you can to avoid getting sick abroad by going to speak to your GP or someone at a local Superdrug Travel Clinic about your vaccine options.

Which travel vaccines are free?

Some travel vaccines are usually free on the NHS. This includes:

  • diphtheria, polio and tetanus boosters
  • cholera vaccine
  • typhoid vaccine
  • hepatitis a and hepatitis b combined vaccine

Many GPs do not keep stock for these vaccines so it’s important that you check with your GP before you make an appointment. GPs may be unable to provide a full travel consultation and tell you which vaccines you need so you need to check whether your GP will be able to advise you.

Make sure you have a consultation well in advance of travel so that you can return to your GP for any additional doses you need or attend a travel clinic for any additional vaccines you need.

Vaccines you would usually need to pay for include:

  • hepatitis B (unless combined with hepatitis A)
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • tick-borne encephalitis
  • meningitis vaccines
  • rabies
  • tuberculosis (TB)
  • yellow fever

Malaria

If you are travelling to a risk area for malaria, you need to take malaria tablets with you. Depending on where you are going, Superdrug Health Clinics can offer different options.

 

Stay safe on your holidays:

  • make sure you and your children have received all boosters listed on the national child vaccine schedule
  • choose the food and drink you consume carefully to avoid food poisoning and other infections
  • choose a comprehensive travel insurance
  • take a European Health Insurance Card with you – it is free and it makes you eligible for medical treatment for free or at a reduced fee when travelling within the EU
  • research your destination and pack everything you need to stay safe – from sunscreen to insect repellent

Visit your local Superdrug Health Clinic - See a specialist nurse or pharmacist

We’re here to keep you protected from even the rarest of diseases. Nearly all Superdrug Travel clinics are registered Yellow Fever centres, prescribe anti-malarial tablets, and offer travel vaccines against all sorts of unusual illnesses like Japanese Encephalitis. Wherever it is you’re going, let us know, and we’re sure to have the vaccines you need. Our specialist travel nurses are always happy to help.

Superdrug Travel Clinics also pride themselves on being able to offer a premium travel healthcare service that’s local and affordable for everyone. Take a look at our local clinic pages to read about the specialist nurses who’ll be giving you your complete travel healthcare services and to get directions to your nearest clinic.

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How it works

1 Book an appointment

Book online or call our booking line. Our lines are open every day!

2 Attend Consultation

During your appointment, the nurse or pharmacist will assess which vaccines or medications you need.

3 Get your treatment

Once our health advisor has assessed your needs, you'll receive your vaccinations & treatments straight away.

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