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What travel vaccines do you need before your holiday?

What travel vaccines do you need before your holiday?

The world is full of wonderful places and people but it’s also crawling with nasty bacteria and viruses. Travel vaccinations are an essential part of a holiday especially if you’re jetting off to a tropical destination!

Planning an epic adventure? Make sure you visit your GP and discuss the locations you’re travelling to and book in for any required vaccines at least 6-8 weeks before you go.

Why are travel vaccinations so important?

Adventurous tourism is on the rise and we’re seeing more people travelling to exotic locations where there are risks of getting particular viruses. Every year, the NHS estimates that almost one in four British holidaymakers will travel without getting the required vaccinations.

But by not getting the required vaccines, you’re putting yourself at risk of contracting a life-threatening infectious disease. You’re also putting others at risk too, as you could bring it back to the UK when you travel home.

Are vaccines free?

Not all vaccines are free, but some are, especially if they protect against a disease that poses a greater risk to the public if brought back into the UK from somewhere else.

The following vaccines are free on the NHS:

  • Polio (given as a combined diphtheria/tetanus/polio jab)
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholera

Vaccines/medicine you need to pay for include:

  • Malaria (You’ll need a prescription for antimalarial tablets)
  • Hepatitis B (unless combined with hepatitis A)
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Tick-borne encephalitis
  • Meningitis vaccines
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Yellow fever

What are the illnesses to be aware of and where could you catch them?


A serious viral infection which can cause temporary or permanent paralysis.

  • Afghanistan
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan


A bacterial infection that can spread throughout the body, affecting many organs, causing serious complications and in some cases, fatality.

  • Indian subcontinent
  • Africa
  • South and Southeast Asia
  • South America

Hepatitis A

Liver infection caused by a virus resulting in sickness, pain and high temperature.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • South and Central America


A potentially fatal bacterial infection caused by consuming contaminated food or water.

  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • India
  • Middle East

Yellow Fever

A serious infection spread by mosquitoes causing vomiting, fever and muscle pain.

  • Most of sub-Saharan Africa (the area below the Sahara desert)
  • South America
  • Central America
  • Caribbean


Serious infection of the brain and nerves, usually caught from the bite or scratch of an infected animal, often dogs.

  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Central and South America


A serious tropical disease spread by mosquitos causing headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea and high temperature.

  • South-East Asia
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Western Pacific
  • The Americas

Don’t forget travel insurance

You must always make sure you are covered while you’re away with the right travel insurance. Whether you get travel vaccines or not, you never know what medical emergencies you might face. Unexpected costs can rise if you need urgent medical treatment or if your bags have been lost or stolen. Always check your policy before you leave to ensure it covers any activities you wish to do while you’re out there.

Private Health Insurance

Did you know, some of our Private Healthcare products include Non-UK Medical Cover? Here at General & Medical, we know the importance of looking after the health of you and your family whether you’re home or away.

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