Travel Vaccinations…Where to Start

Note:  This post only pertains to US travelers.  If you are from another country and have information, please leave a comment below.  Thanks!

In the past when I’ve traveled the entire topic of “do I need vaccinations” has been a bit confusing.  I’ve relied on my primary care doctor to assist with my decisions.  So far that’s worked, but given the length of my travel and the number of countries I’ll be visiting at the end of the year she referred me to a “travel” doctor.  I attempted to make an appointment, but it wasn’t easy to get one that worked within my schedule.  And, they won’t bill insurance so it would have cost me over $200 for the appointment and the one shot I thought I might need.  I figured there must be an easier way to figure this out.

Where to Find Information

It didn’t take much research to find a great resource…the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Traveler’s Health (in fact this is the site that the US State Department refers travelers to).  This site is a wealth of information.

Choose a country…choose the type of traveler that best fits…click Go.  Easy to understand results are returned.

For me, the information on this site is “good enough”.  I’m willing to travel based on the information provided.  If someone is more risk adverse, they may want to make an appointment with a doctor that specializes in travel vaccinations and/or visit websites with specific information for the country(ies) being visited.

In either case, the CDC website is a great place to start.

What Vaccinations to Get

I made the decision to get the vaccinations that are required for “all travelers”, along with Hepatitis.  For people with certain medical conditions more vaccinations may be important.

Other Considerations

The one additional piece of advice I can give is to take into account what country is being traveled from (and not just the country of origin).  For example, I’m traveling from Belize to New Zealand.  If I was traveling from another Central America country I may have needed to get a Yellow Fever vaccination as well.

This is just basic vaccination information, but I hope that it will help others get started with the process of determining what vaccinations are needed.

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