Vaccinations – where to get them

Vaccinations are another one of those things that we put off until the very last minute. By the time we got around to getting jabbed we had already moved out of our house and into our first rental apartment 25 miles away from home, and our GP.

Alas, although we could have saved a lot of money having our vaccinations at our local Doctors’ surgery this was not an option for us and so instead we went to a Nomad Travel health clinic. They have several branches over the UK and whilst it’s not especially cheap, you can turn up and have any vaccinations you need there and then and so it offers the ultimate in convenience. We made a total of 3 visits to get all of the vaccinations we needed and the clinic was always fully booked plus we always bumped into someone who was leaving on a trip in a couple of days time. This is where they’re worth the money! They also sell travel gear, this is discounted if you use the clinic, and the Australian backpacker who mans the tills gave us some great travel tips.

If you can get your jabs at your GP surgery you really should do as some are free, some are the price of a prescription (around £9) and others will cost more but still less than a private clinic because you aren’t paying for the nurse to inject you or any admin fees.

If you don’t have access to a GP then we would highly recommend Nomad Travel – although there are plenty of other private clinics to choose from if you aren’t near a Nomad Travel store or want to shop around. Below are some of the other clinics that we checked out:

The Health Station
Central Travel Clinic
1st Contact
STA Travel

Despite the hefty fee, Nomad Travel are actually as competitive as any other private clinic – it’s just not quite the NHS. Having said that one huge benefit of going there was the expertise from the nurse we saw.

Before visiting I had called our GP to talk about our vaccination history and to ask what jabs he thought we needed. Despite the fact that neither of us have bothered to have any travel vaccinations over the years (oops) he only recommended that we have Hepatitis A and Typhoid. However, after a long and helpful (if not a little terrifying) consultation with our Nomad Travel nurse, we actually ended up getting:

  • A Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio combo
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies (x3)
  • Some anti-malarial tablets
  • Diarrhoea kit (yes this sound horrendous. It’s actually just Imodium with some antibiotics combined to help speed up bouts of the road runs).

Though Yellow Fever was recommended we opted to abstain until we travel to South America. This was partly due to the £80 fee (EACH) and partly due to the dead arm situation we were dealing with after so many jabs all in one go. We intend to get the yellow fever jab whilst on the road next year.

We were given handy vaccination record cards to carry with us should we need to evidence our inoculations at border control and for our own knowledge. It tells us when our booster jabs are due (this appears to range from 3 – 10 years although we do need to have a Hep A booster within 12 months).

Nobody likes getting injections and it’s especially painful if they cost you a small fortune (for a while there I was beginning to think that Diphtheria didn’t look so bad) however your health is not something you can take for granted, especially when you’re on the road. Below is a rough guide of the jabs you should be considering for each continent you plan to visit. Note that even first world countries come with recommended vaccinations.

You’re travelling to Central and South America 

  • Yellow Fever
  • Tetanus
  • Diptheria
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Tuberculosis (most UK citizens receive this during secondary school)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies
  • Malaria

You’re travelling to Africa

  • Yellow Fever
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Diptheria
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatits A
  • Hepatits B
  • Rabies
  • Meningitis
  • Malaria

You’re travelling to Asia

  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Diptheria
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatits B
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Tick Borne Encephalitis
  • Malaria

You’re travelling to Europe

  • Tetanus
  • Diptheria
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies

You’re travelling to North America

  • Tetanus
  • Diptheria
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tuberculosis

You’re travelling to Australia

  • Tetanus
  • Diptheria
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B

This information is always changing (for instance right now Chikungunya is raging through the Caribbean, though there is no vaccination for this disease) and so before you travel always check for up to date news. This NHS site is really helpful.

You could get your vaccinations abroad – Thailand and Singapore are known in particular for their great healthcare – however if you can it’s best to do this at home before you leave for your trip. This is because you have access to your health records and can probably get some given for free.

Have you got any horror stories of on the road illness? Any advice on where to get vaccinations abroad? Let us know in the comments below.

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