What do I need to know about travel and vaccinations?

Ideally, schedule a visit with your doctor or a travel medicine provider 4 to 6 weeks before your trip.  Most vaccines take time to become effective in your body and some vaccines must be given in a series over a period of days or sometimes weeks.

If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. You might still benefit from shots or medications and other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

The CDC divides vaccines for travel into three categories: routine, recommended, and required.  While your doctor will tell you which ones you should have, it's best to be aware of them ahead of time.

Be sure that you and your family are up to date on your routine vaccinations.  These vaccines are necessary for protection from diseases that are still common in many parts of the world even though they rarely occur in the United States.  If you are not sure which vaccinations are routine, review the CDC's  recommended immunization schedule.

For more detailed information related to specific travel destinations and special travel needs, please visit http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentVaccinations.aspx.

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