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International travel is back. Do you need to get vaccinated before you go?

Updated: Jul 24, 2023


Away Clinic in Mesa, AZ

PRESS RELEASE

1/4/2024


Covid restrictions have lifted all over the world during 2022. For many, this means a welcome return to global travel. People travel for all sorts of reasons from fun to visiting family to work. For evidence, consider the data in the chart below that shows how frequently people in the United States are searching for the term "international flights" on Google over the past 12 months. You can see a substantial uptick has occurred in just the last month that is much steeper of an increase than what we saw this time last year.


Google Trends data (1/4/2024) showing an uptick in interest in the term "international flights"

Where are people traveling to?

Recent data is incomplete and misleading due to Covid-related restrictions around the world, which are now mostly lifted. For this reason, it makes sense to refer back to the last pre-pandemic year: 2019. You can see from the following chart that most people are traveling to Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. Latin American destinations and the Middle East are next. Lastly, people are visiting Oceania (islands of the Pacific) and Africa.


U.S. citizen international travel in 2019: TRADE.GOV

Which destinations require vaccinations prior to entry?

Aside from Covid requirements, typically only the yellow fever vaccine may be required. The yellow fever vaccine is required for entry into many countries in Africa where yellow fever is endemic. Yellow fever is spread by mosquitos and is carried by both humans and non-human primates. The yellow fever vaccine is shown to be over 99% effective and confers life-long immunity. The yellow fever vaccine is a live vaccine so it can be dangerous to give to people over 65 years old or who are immunocompromised. In such cases, a waiver from a medical provider is often acceptable in lieu of the vaccine.


Other vaccines may be recommended depending on (a) where you're traveling to, (b) what you will be doing while you're there, (c) how long you will be there, and (d) your personal immunization and medical history.


If you would like to know what vaccines you may need for your trip, you should check the CDC website's destinations pages and speak with a travel health specialist.


What's new in travel health?

Researchers are making great strides in vaccine development. Most recently, a new vaccine for backpackers in Eastern Europe came on line called Ticovac. The vaccine protects against dangerous tick-borne encephalitis. Many other vaccines are in development or testing phases.


What we see at Away Clinic


The most common vaccines we administer at Away Clinic are yellow fever, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis.


Proportion of travel vaccines | Away Clinic 2022

"Most of the travelers I see in our clinic are going on missions for their church, going back to their home country to visit family, or have retired and are avid world travelers."- Paige, BSN, RN


These patients are typically traveling to Africa, Southeast Asia, South America, or some other tropical or developing country.


About Away Clinic

Away Clinic is a travel medicine provider in Arizona, often servicing travelers going to Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia! Common travel vaccines administered include yellow fever, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis. Away Clinic has two Arizona-based clinics: Scottsdale, AZ and Chandler, AZ. Neurologist, Dr. Andrea An, is the medical director and owner of Away Clinic.


Contact: Aaron Charlton, PhD (contact@awayclinic.com)


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