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Protecting the Traveler

Vaccines for travel fall into three categories: (1) routine, (2) required, and (3) recommended.

  • Routine vaccines are those that are recommended for everyone in the United States based on their age, health condition, or other risk factors. You may think of these as the childhood vaccines that you get before starting school, but some are routinely recommended for adults, and some are recommended every year (like the flu vaccine) or every 10 years (like the tetanus booster for adults).

  • Required vaccine is one that travelers must have in order to enter a country, based on that country’s government regulations. For example, yellow fever  and COVID-19 are vaccines required by certain countries.

  • Recommended vaccines are those that CDC recommends travelers get to protect their health, even though they aren't required for entry by the government of the country you are visiting. Recommended vaccines are not part of the routine vaccination schedule. They protect travelers from illnesses that are usually travel-related. For example, a typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid, a serious disease spread by contaminated food and water, which is not usually found in the United States. The vaccines recommended for a traveler depend on several things, including age, health, and itinerary.

  • Viral infections (yellow fever, influenza, Hepatitis, Polio, SARS CoV-2, etc)

  • Bacterial infections (pneumococcal pneumonia, meningitis, typhoid fever, etc)
  • Click here to learn more about common travel vaccines.

Medications and advice are given for these conditions:

What you need is determined during expert consultation. Where you are going and what you are doing is matched with your current health status, age and the laws of the country you are visiting. Many locations have recommended or required vaccinations.

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