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Travel Health - Before You Go

Get needed vaccines and medicines

Check with the nearest travel health clinic, your regional health department, your doctor, or one of the websites listed above to see what kind of vaccines you should get. In the United States, most state health clinics can give you travel vaccines, some medicines, and healthy travel tips.

See your doctor or go to a clinic several months before your trip, or as soon as you can. Some vaccines need to be given in more than one dose. For example, if you need protection from hepatitis A, you'll need two doses of hepatitis A vaccine spaced at least 6 months apart.

You may need vaccines to protect against:

  • Childhood infections, if they aren't up-to-date for you and your children. This includes shots for polio(What is a PDF document?), diphtheria(What is a PDF document?), measles(What is a PDF document?), whooping cough (pertussis)(What is a PDF document?), mumps(What is a PDF document?), and rubella(What is a PDF document?).
  • Tetanus(What is a PDF document?), if you haven't received one in the last 10 years.
  • Hepatitis A(What is a PDF document?), if you are going to developing countries where the disease is common. The vaccine(What is a PDF document?) is given as two shots. The first hepatitis A shot usually works in about 4 weeks. It protects most people from getting hepatitis A. The second shot is given at least 6 months after the first shot and provides lasting protection.
  • Hepatitis B(What is a PDF document?).
  • Yellow fever(What is a PDF document?). This vaccine is now required for travelers who plan to visit countries in South America and Africa where the disease is active.
  • The flu(What is a PDF document?) or complications of pneumonia (PPSV vaccine(What is a PDF document?) or PCV vaccine(What is a PDF document?)).
  • Typhoid fever(What is a PDF document?), especially if you are traveling to an area where the risk of typhoid fever is high. These areas include Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. Your doctor, health clinic, or health department will have the most recent recommendations.
  • Rabies(What is a PDF document?), if you may be handling or near animals in parts of the world where rabies is common.
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