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Why you should get your travel vaccines 6 to 8 weeks before you travel if possible

While many travelers come in at the last minute to get their travel vaccines, we recommend trying to get them 6 to 8 weeks out if possible. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Vaccines need time for full efficacy,

  2. Some vaccines require multiple doses spaced apart,

  3. Some common medications are contraindicated for vaccines so you would have to come off of the medication for a period of time prior to vaccination,

  4. Scheduling conflicts can arise. A cancellation may happen on either the travel clinic side or the patient side due to sickness or other unforeseen circumstance,

  5. Vaccines usually last for several years or for a lifetime, so why wait?

  6. Travel clinics can get very busy in the late spring/early summer timeframe so plan ahead!

Timelines to consider

  • Yellow fever. Get the yellow fever shot at least 10 days before you travel. After 10 days, the yellow fever vaccine provides 80-100% immunity (99%+ immunity at 30 days) and if you're traveling to Africa, your destination country may require you to get it 10 days before entering the country. You may also need to have it done just to apply for your visa. Get it done early!

  • Japanese encephalitis (JE). Get the first JE shot 35 days before you travel if possible. JE is a two-dose series. Ideally you should get the second dose 28 days after the first dose and the second dose should be administered 7 days before traveling. If necessary we can do an abbreviated schedule and give the second JE dose 7 days after the first, which still means its best to come in to the clinic 14 days before traveling.

  • Typhoid. The CDC recommends getting the typhoid injection 14 days before traveling or starting the oral typhoid series (4 pills taken every other day) 14 days before traveling. Either way, you should come in 14 days before you go.

These are our most commonly administered travel vaccines but many other vaccines, such as rabies, require multiple shots spaced out so it's best to come in early if you can.

What to do if you can't come in early

Come in anyway. Some immunity is better than none and your immunity will continue to build during your trip. Call right away to get on the schedule. Travel clinics are often able to get people in on very short notice.


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