Getting Vaccinations Before Travelling Abroad

If you’re travelling to certain countries, you’ll need specific vaccinations to protect yourself. Some countries won’t even let you in unless you can show you’ve been vaccinated against certain diseases. Here’s how to sort out any vaccinations you might need if you’re travelling abroad.

1) Talk to your GP first

They’ll be able to double check what you’ve already been immunised against, so you aren’t doubling up on anything. You can also chat to them about where you are going, how your health is generally, and they can then recommend what you should get.

You should get advice at least eight weeks before you're due to travel, as some jabs need to be given well in advance.

2) Double check your country

There are a couple of websites you can use to figure what vaccinations you might need. Head to Fit For Travel and see what would be useful to get when you’re away, and whether you need certificates to prove you’d had certain vaccinations.

3) Check the cost

The NHS will only cover the cost of certain vaccinations, and others you may need to pay for. Again, check with your GP about this, who can point you in the right direction. The following travel vaccinations are usually available free on the NHS: diphtheria, polio and tetanus (combined booster); typhoid; hepatitis A – including when combined with typhoid or hepatitis B; cholera.

Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres. The Health Protection Scotland website can help you find a clinic offering yellow fever vaccination. 

Why is getting vaccinated important?

Immunisation is a way of protecting against serious diseases. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight these diseases if we come into contact with them. It also helps get rid of disease, because when enough people are immunised against them, diseases cannot spread.