Traveling is a dream come true for many people. It’s a perfect way to relax, spend
quality time with your significant other, and bond with your family and friends. When
done right, travelling can help you discover new territories, enjoy a different way of life,
and immerse yourself in different cultures. At the same time, the exotic adventure can
turn from a dream come true into a nightmare if certain health and safety precautions
aren’t met before your departure.
Thanks to the proper use of vaccines, many diseases have been obsolete and forgotten
in Canada. However it is vital to keep in mind that these diseases do exist in many
different parts of the world and precautions must be taken in order to avoid contracting
them while vacationing abroad this summer. Before you even start to pack your bags,
get informed on the possible epidemics that may be plaguing your destination of choice, and take a small detour at a vaccinating clinic near you verify that your immunizations are up?to?date. Then you’ll be ready for the new adventures coming your way, without having to worry about any nasty surprises while you’re travelling this summer.
Additional criteria towards evaluating your immunization needs
Immunization needs may vary from country to country, type of vacation, as well as each
individual’s medical history. For example, a one week vacation in an all inclusive resort
in Cuba requires much less protection than a 3 month humanitarian expedition in the
same country. That’s why it would be nearly impossible to compile a complete and
current list of necessary vaccines for each destination. Between hepatitis A and B,
European and tick?born encephalitis, rabies and whooping cough, the list of diseases
that require precautionary measures is endless. It is therefore highly recommended that
you consult a qualified health care professional who will be able to evaluate your
specific risks and help you make the best decisions to travel healthy and safely.
Remember, it is imperative that you visit a travel clinic or consult your health care
provider at least 4?6 weeks before you travel. This is important because some vaccines
may take several weeks to become fully effective and others may require more than just
a single dose.
Obligatory vaccinations and the case of yellow fever
Certain vaccines are suggested by Canadian health services, while others are required in
order to enter specific countries. To travel in some countries in South Africa for
example, the yellow fever vaccine is required. An official proof of immunization is
mandatory, otherwise you risk being refused entry into the country, or even
quarantined in some cases. For most people, this is more than enough incentive to
make sure their vaccinations are up?to?date before departing for their travels. Please
keep in mind that not all Canadian clinics offer immunization against yellow fever. Only
certain clinics in Canada can administer this vaccine. To find out which countries have a
high risk of yellow fever and require immunization before crossing their border visit the
World Health Organization’s website (http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_Annex_I.pdf?ua=1)
Malaria is a widespread disease in many tropical and subtropical destinations. Malaria is
transmitted through mosquito bites and can be very dangerous and in many cases fatal.
It is therefore recommended that you stay protected against mosquitoes and take the
necessary medications needed to prevent malaria before you depart on your travels.
Where can I go to get vaccinated before my trip?
To find a vaccinating clinic near you visit www.vaccines411.ca, enter your postal code
and choose the travel category. Clinics vaccinating against yellow fever will also be
Please note that this article is purely informative and should not under any circumstance
replace the advice of your health care professional(s). Travellers are invited to make an
appointment with a travel clinic near them to evaluate their risks and take the necessary
measures to ensure their health this travel season. Bon voyage!
English adaptation by: Despina Doukas