Sunday, April 25, 2021

International travel and vaccinations

International Travel and Vaccinations: What You Need to Know

Different destinations around the world can pose different health risks to travelers. It's to reduce such health risks that officials often recommend you receive certain vaccinations before traveling to specific regions. Depending on your country of origin and travel history, you may also be asked for proof that you've received specific vaccinations in order to enter certain countries. As an example of this - more and more, it's looking like this is going to be the case for COVID-19 vaccinations, as airlines, cruise lines, and leaders of countries are discussing implementing proof requirements demonstrating that travelers have received a vaccine for this virus. These proposed requirements are often being referred to as "COVID passports," "COVID-19 passports," or by similar names in news reports. For these reasons, it's important that you do your research before any international travel. This way, you'll know exactly what to expect and will be fully prepared when you arrive at your destination.

When starting your research, a great first place to look is online. The Web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides vaccination information for 245 destinations and can be found at While on this page, simply choose your travel destination from the drop down menu marked "For Travelers", press "Go", and information about specific vaccination recommendations and requirements will be provided to you. Though it's not required, you may also provide additional information to help personalize your results by checking off any of the listed options matching your particular circumstances.

Beyond the detailed information about any recommended or required vaccinations, you may also be presented with area-specific travel health notices that can help you further assess the health risks of traveling to your chosen destination. Any notices, if present, will be classified based on three levels of risk: Watch Level 1, where you should practice usual precautions, Alert Level 2, where you should practice advanced precautions, and Warning Level 3, where you should avoid any nonessential travel to the area.

Once you have a better understanding of your chosen destination's vaccination requirements and recommendations, you should consult your doctor. It's recommended that you visit your doctor four to six weeks prior to any international travel to discuss the possible health risks of traveling to your chosen destination and while there, receive any needed vaccinations. Be sure to also inquire about your proof of vaccination documentation if such documents will be required during your trip.

Because traveling to certain destinations may pose an increased health risk, it is important that you familiarize yourself with such risks and visit your family doctor prior to your departure. By visiting your family doctor, you can receive any recommended vaccinations and acquire any needed vaccination documentation. This will reduce your chances of becoming ill during your next trip or missing out on it altogether from being unable to provide the required proof of vaccination to authorities.

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