Immunization is critical for global health. Most people get routine vaccines as children. But travelers need to pay special attention to vaccinations. To help you with your aid travel, we have put together this article to answer the most common question about vaccines. Here is everything you need to know about vaccines. What are vaccinations? Vaccines protect people from certain diseases. Currently, immunization can protect you from 26 different viruses. Scientists develop vaccines using a weakened germ of the disease or a part of the germ. The doctor then administers the solution, usually using a syringe. Once the vaccine enters your body, your immune system gets familiar with the virus. It helps your body to develop an immune response to it. So, even if you catch the virus, later on, your body knows how to protect you from it. Learn more about what vaccines are. What are the diseases that can be immunized? You can get a vaccine to prevent 26 diseases. It’s unlikely that you will need all of these. But since different parts of the world have a range of risks, these vaccines to protect a large number of people. The first vaccine that people developed was the one for smallpox. The healthcare system managed to eradicate the disease in the 1980s. Polio is another illness that few people get any more. Hopefully, the global health sector can eradicate more diseases and save more lives soon. Learn about the diseases that can be immunized. How long do vaccines last? Each vaccine is different. Many, such as the yellow fever vaccine, provide you with lifetime immunity. Otherwise, need a few doses to get you long-term protection against the disease. That’s the case for many childhood vaccines. Also, there are some vaccines that you need to get regularly. Maybe every few years, such as the rabies vaccine, or every decade. This means that not only children need to get their immunizations. Adults also need to be up to date on vaccines. Learn more about how long vaccines last. What is the Difference Between Routine, Required, and Recommended Vaccines? Many governments require specific types of vaccines. For example, schools will not allow children to take classes until they are immunized. Countries may also not allow travelers to enter without a vaccination certificate. These are the required vaccines. On the other hand, routine vaccines are the ones most people get. It may be up to the parents or the individual whether they choose to have it. Further, recommended vaccines are not mandatory or that common. But they may be a good idea for certain at-risk groups for specific diseases. Learn more about the difference between routine, required, and recommended vaccines. What types of vaccinations for travel are there? Each country has a set of vaccines that children receive at a young age. However, depending on where you are in the world, these routine vaccines may be different. So, there are usually several vaccine recommendations when you travel to certain countries for a humanitarian mission. Some common ones are yellow fever, typhoid fever, and hepatitis A and B. Learn more about the types of vaccinations for travel. How are in advance do I need to get travel vaccines? Most vaccines require an incubation period before they start working. Also, you might need more than one dose to have full immunity. So, it’s best to start getting your travel vaccines at least six months before travel. If you are on a short schedule, consult with your doctor about your options. You may still be able to get some protection! Learn more about how far in advance you will need to get your travel vaccines. Where can I get travel vaccinations? The first step to get your travel vaccines is to consult with your doctor. Many hospitals and clinics will be able to administer essential vaccines. For something more specialized, you might need to visit a travel health clinic. If you can’t get a vaccine back home, you can also get it at your destination. However, this is not recommended, since it may be a few days or weeks before you develop immunity. Learn more about getting travel vaccinations and where you can get travel vaccines. What immunization resources are available for humanitarians? Humanitarian travelers can learn about vaccines they need through various resources. Start with your government website. For example, the CDC section for international travelers is a great resource. You can also find information on the WHO website. Learn more about immunization resources for humanitarians. Remember that you should always talk to a healthcare professional about immunization options. What vaccines do I need if traveling to different regions? You will need different vaccines depending on your destination. But first, you should make sure that your routine vaccines are up to date. These include the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Once you have these, check with your doctor whether you need any others. Some conventional vaccines for travelers include the yellow fever vaccine, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, rabies, and cholera. If you are traveling to Africa, read our guide here. If you will be going to Kenya, this is a great resource. For travelers to the Middle East, click here. We Help You to Travel We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves simplifying travel complexity. That is how we enable those who do good to accomplish their goals of supporting, healing, and educating people around the world. Please reach out to our experienced staff anytime. You can use our quick address locator to contact your nearest office.