Are you traveling out of Australia? – What you need to do to stay healthy during travels

If you are planning to travel overseas, ensure that you and your kids are up to date with your vaccinations. These can include childhood vaccinations and boosters such as polio vaccinations, measles – mumps- rubella (MMR) vaccination, chickenpox, and influenza vaccination. If not vaccinated, you and your loved ones will not only be at a high risk of getting the disease while traveling overseas but may also carry the disease back home.

What are Travel Vaccinations?

If you are traveling outside Australia, you will be exposed to different infections that can cause disease. Travel vaccinations can help strengthen our body’s immune system against infection and prevent you from falling sick. Few countries require you to vaccinate against particular countries. Ensure that you visit travel clinics Australia or consult your health provider before you travel outside Australia.

When should you visit travel clinics in Australia?

Visit a travel vaccination clinic or consult your health care provider at least 12 weeks before you leave Australia. A travel vaccination may sometimes be required to be administered in several doses.  Also, after immunisation, your body may need time to develop complete immunity. It is therefore advised that you visit travel health clinics before 2- 3months of your travel and not wait to check with your doctor until the last minute.

What travel vaccinations should I have?

Different countries tend to different travel vaccination requirements. There is no standard immunization that will suit all travelers. Vaccines are recommended to travelers based on several factors, which includes:

  • Your age
  • Location of travel
  • Season of travel
  • Vaccination History
  • Pregnant or planning pregnancy
  • Any underlying medical conditions

If I am already vaccinated – what should I do?

If you have already been vaccinated for a particular disease, it is still recommended that you talk to your health care provider or visit travel clinics in Australia. Immunity to disease may change or reduce with time. Also, considering certain factors such as your age and birthplace may sometimes require you to stay protected against some disease.

How to get more information about staying safe overseas?

Different websites can guide you about travel vaccinations. However, only relying on such information may not be safe. It is highly recommended that you visit a travel vaccination centre or talk to your doctor to get the complete information regarding the vaccines.

Check out Travel Health Information to learn more about the factors to be considered before departure, while you are away and after you return.

  • To be more informed about the travel vaccinations and learn more about the tips of staying healthy while traveling overseas, check:
  • Travelers’ Health (US Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Smartravller (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

Do you need to pay for your Travel Vaccinations?

The Australian National Immunisation Program Schedule provides some vaccinations such as influenza vaccination for free.  Generally, you will have to pay for other travel vaccinations. However, since the cost of each injection can vary from one and another, you must discuss with your doctor the cost of each vaccination before you get immunised.

Childhood Immunisation

In Australia, immunization is highly recommended for all children. Immunisation is a safe, effective, and simple way to protect your child against serious infections, some which can be life-threatening. Getting your child immunised regularly can help protect your child against

  • Polio
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria
  • Mumps
  • Measles
  • Rotavirus
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Chick box (varicella)
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)
  • Meningococcal ACWY disease
  • Influenza
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)

The National immunisation program (NIP) provides routine immunisation for Australian children, free of charge. The Victorian government funds extra vaccines from time to time to groups who are more at risk than the others in the community. Child immunizations can be provided by your doctor, local councils, immunisation clinics, and some hospitals.

Why is immunisation necessary for young children?

During the initial months after birth, the baby stays protected from infectious disease antibodies that are transferred to them from their mother during pregnancy. This is known as passive immunity. However, with time these antibodies tend to wear off, putting the infant at risk of serious infections. The first immunizations are therefore given before these antibodies have gone.

Apart from the rotavirus vaccine, which is given to a child by mouth, most vaccinations given to children as an injection in  their arms or legs. A vaccination dose can help protect your child against one specific disease or several diseases. Combination vaccines combine several vaccines in one injection and can help reduce the number of injections your child needs.

What do you need to do if you are an unvaccinated adult?

According to the Medical Journal of Australia, nearly 4.1 million Australians were unvaccinated adults. There could be different reasons behind this- perhaps because their parents were anxious about the reaction a dose had caused or worried about the side effects of the vaccination. So if you one of those unvaccinated adults, there are a few things you will have to do.

According to Professor Nicolas Wood from National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), the first thing an unvaccinated adult should do is to visit a general practitioner who can help you put together a catch- up schedule. This will include several doses of a few vaccines, particularly tetanus and whooping cough. Also, you will require at least one dose of mumps/ measles/ rubella (MMR) and even a chickenpox vaccine. Catch – up schedules will have specific rules, such as the minimum interval between doses.

Cost of Travel Vaccinations

  • Hepatitis B – about $20.00 per dose
  • Measles/ Mumps/Rubella (MMR) – approximately $35. 00 per dose
  • Influenza (Flu) – about $20.00
  • Poliomyelitis (polio) – $20.00 per dose
  • Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) – approximately $24.95 per dose
  • Meningococcal C- about $100.00 per dose
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV/Gardasil) – approximately $200.00 per dose
  • Hepatitis A – around $65.00 per dose
  • Tetanus/whooping cough/diphtheria – approximately $45.00 per dose
  • Varicella (chickenpox) – roughly $80.00 per dose