A Visit to the Travel Clinic
Travel clinics are staffed with specialists in travel health. They have current information on which vaccines are required or recommended for people travelling to various destinations as well as information on the most up-to-date medications for travellers. Even if you've had vaccinations when you've travelled before, you will still benefit from a visit to a travel clinic, as the recommendations may have changed or you may need a "booster" for a vaccine you already have been given.
When you visit a travel clinic, be sure to bring any medical records and travel forms you have so that you can discuss:
- your previous immunizations
- your medical history, allergies, and current medications
- your current health issues and infections
- your travel plans (bring your travel itinerary) and lifestyle
- your insurance situation
Be as honest as possible with the travel doctor so you will get the best assessment possible. To find the nearest travel clinic, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada's information on Travel Health at www.travelhealth.gc.ca. Note that visits to a travel clinic are not covered under most provincial health care plans.
Not all vaccines are 100% effective in protecting you. Also keep in mind that health problems you may encounter while travelling are not always prevented by vaccines. For example, travellers should still take proper food and water precautions.
Children and pregnant women should ask their doctors about the benefits and risks of certain vaccines. If you are on certain medications, such as corticosteroids, some vaccinations may not be recommended for you, and others may not be as effective. People who have compromised immune systems, for example, people who have HIV or lupus or who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, should also be discuss the risks and benefits of vaccinations with their doctors before getting vaccinated.
What vaccines are available?
Childhood and routine vaccinations are covered in most public health insurance plans. You will have to pay for additional vaccinations directly or through your private health insurance. Double-check with your doctor whether you have to pay for a vaccination.
Routine vaccines (usually as part of your immunization schedule and usually covered by public health care):
- Hepatitis B
- Haemophilus influenzae B (meningitis)
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Measles, mumps and rubella
- Pertussis (whopping cough)
- Tetanus and diphtheria
- Varicella (chicken pox)
Recommended vaccines (some are required for entry into country):
- Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG; for tuberculosis)
- European tick-borne encephalitis
- Hepatitis A
- Japanese encephalitis
- Meningococcal (if you did not receive it as part of your routine immunization schedule)
- Yellow fever
For a list of current travel advisories, see the Public Health Agency of Canada's information on Travel Health online at www.travelhealth.gc.ca, the World Health Organization at www.who.int, or the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/travel.