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Travel vaccinations

Introduction

People who are travelling outside the UK may need to be vaccinated against some of the serious diseases found in other parts of the world.

Vaccination can protect you against becoming infected with a range of serious diseases such as cholera, yellow fever and tick-borne encephalitis.

In the UK, the childhood vaccination programme protects against a number of diseases, such as tetanus, but it does not cover most of the infectious diseases that are found overseas.

Travel vaccinations

You can find out which vaccinations are necessary or recommended for the areas you will be visiting on these two websites:

Some countries require you to have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before you enter. For example, Saudi Arabia requires proof of vaccination against certain types of meningitis for visitors arriving for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

Many tropical countries in Africa and South America will not accept travellers from an area where there is yellow fever, unless they can prove that they have been vaccinated against it.

Read more information about specific vaccines in Vaccines A–M and Vaccines P–Z.

Some people may have side effects from travel vaccinations including a high temperature, dizziness and nausea, or soreness at the site of the injection.

Getting vaccinated

Not all vaccinations are available through the NHS and you may need to pay for some at a private travel clinic. Your GP surgery can give you details of your private local travel clinic.

Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres. The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) website can help you find where to get a yellow fever vaccination.

Read more information about where to get travel vaccinations.

Things to consider

There are several things to take into consideration when planning your travel vaccinations, including:

  • The country or countries you are visiting. In some cases, the region of a country you are visiting will also be important.
  • When you are travelling. Some diseases are more common at certain times of the year, for example during the rainy season.
  • Where you are staying. In general, you will be more at risk of getting diseases in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • If you are backpacking and staying in hostels or camping, you may be more at risk than if you were on a package holiday and staying in a hotel.
  • How long you will be staying. The longer your stay, the greater your risk of being exposed to diseases.
  • Your age and health. Some people may be more vulnerable to infection than others, while some vaccinations cannot be given to those with a particular medical condition.
  • What you will be doing during your stay. For example, whether you will be spending a lot of time outdoors, such as trekking or working in rural areas.
  • If you are working as an aid worker. You may come into contact with more diseases if you are working in a refugee camp, or helping after a natural disaster.
  • If you are working in a medical setting. For example, a doctor or nurse may require additional vaccinations.
  • If you are in contact with animals, you may be more at risk of getting diseases that are spread by animals, such as rabies.

If you are only travelling to countries in northern and central Europe, North America or Australia, it is unlikely that you will need to have any vaccinations. If you are travelling outside these countries, it is likely that some vaccinations will be required.

If possible, see your GP at least eight weeks before you are due to travel, because some vaccinations need to be given well in advance. Make sure that you tell your GP if you are doing any of the activities mentioned above, which may place you at greater risk.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Speak to your GP before having any vaccinations if:

  • you are pregnant
  • you think you might be pregnant
  • you are breastfeeding

In many cases, it is unlikely that a vaccine given while pregnant or breastfeeding will cause problems for the baby. However, your GP will be able to give you further advice.

People with immune deficiencies

For some people travelling overseas, vaccination against certain diseases may not be advised. This may be the case if:

  • you have a condition that affects your body's immune system, such as HIV or AIDS
  • you are receiving treatment that affects your immune system, such as chemotherapy (a treatment for cancer)
  • you have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant

Your GP can give you further advice.

Vaccines for adults

As well as getting any new vaccinations that you need, make sure your existing vaccinations are up to date and have booster jabs if necessary.

Your GP surgery can check your existing vaccination records.

People in certain risk groups may be offered extra vaccines. These include vaccinations against diseases such as:

Read more information on vaccines for adults to find out whether you should have one.

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Vaccines A-M

The following vaccinations will protect against conditions starting with the letters A to M.

Read about vaccinations for conditions starting with P to Z and find out about the potential side effects of travel vaccinations.

The areas that are considered to be of high risk for any disease may change. For up-to-date travel information on the country you are visiting, check:

Cholera

Cholera can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting. This can quickly lead to severe dehydration, and can be fatal. Cholera is spread through contaminated food, particularly shellfish and water.

High-risk areas

Cholera is found throughout the world, particularly in areas with poor sanitation, including:

  • parts of Africa
  • parts of Central America
  • India
  • the Middle East
  • Southeast Asia

The cholera vaccination is not recommended for most travellers. For most people, normal food and water hygiene precautions will be enough to prevent the infection.

The cholera vaccination is recommended for:

  • aid workers helping in disaster areas or refugee camps
  • backpackers heading to remote areas of a country where cholera is a risk, and where they will not have access to medical care

The vaccine

The cholera vaccine is not available through the NHS but is available through private prescription for those who need it. It costs around £25 for the medication, although this cost may vary slightly between pharmacies.

For adults and children over six years of age, two doses of the vaccine are needed to protect against cholera for two years. After this, a booster will be required. The vaccine is taken orally (by mouth), as a small amount of liquid to be swallowed.

Children aged two to six years old will need to have three doses of the vaccine. This will protect them for six months, after which time they will need to have a booster.

For all age groups, the doses must be given at least one week apart, but no more than six weeks apart. The vaccinations should be completed at least one week before travelling. 

The cholera vaccine cannot be given to children under two years of age.

Diphtheria

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that is spread through coughs and sneezes. It affects the nose, throat and sometimes the skin, and it can be fatal.

High-risk areas

High-risk areas for diptheria include:

  • parts of South America
  • parts of Southeast Asia
  • sub-Saharan Africa

In the UK, children are vaccinated against diphtheria as part of the childhood vaccination programme. This means that many people in the UK will already be fully vaccinated against diphtheria.

The vaccine is recommended for anyone travelling to a high-risk area and who:

  • has not been vaccinated
  • has not been fully vaccinated (in the UK you should receive five doses of the diphtheria vaccine)
  • had their last dose of the diphtheria vaccine 10 or more years ago

The vaccine

Children under 10 years of age will receive their diphtheria vaccine as part of their childhood vaccinations. 

Children aged 10 or over and adults who have never been vaccinated will need to have three doses of the vaccine, one month apart. You can have a booster dose 5–10 years after this, followed by a second booster dose after another 10 years. You will then be protected for life.

Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated or has not had a booster dose in the last 10 years will need to have a booster dose of the diphtheria vaccine.

The diphtheria vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines, such as tetanus and polio. The diphtheria vaccine cannot be given to infants under two months of age.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. It is caught through contaminated food and water, or through person-to-person contact if personal hygiene is poor.

High-risk areas

High-risk areas for hepatitis A include:

  • Africa
  • Central America
  • Eastern Europe
  • the Far East
  • India
  • South America

The Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for:

  • anyone travelling to high-risk areas for a long time, particularly if sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor
  • anyone going to live or stay for a long time in a country where hepatitis A is constantly present
  • anyone with chronic liver disease, because hepatitis A can be more serious for people with this condition

Vaccination is not considered necessary if you are travelling to northern or western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand or Japan.

The vaccine

A single injection of the vaccine should be given two weeks before you leave, although it can be given up to the day of your departure if necessary. This will protect you against hepatitis A for about a year. A booster dose, given 6–12 months after the first, will protect you for at least 20 years.

If it is recommended for travel purposes, this vaccine is currently available on the NHS.

A combined hepatitis A and B vaccine and a combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine are also available. These vaccines may be useful if you require protection against both diseases.

The hepatitis A vaccine cannot be given to babies younger than one.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver that can cause flu-like symptoms and liver failure, and can be fatal. It is spread through contact with infected blood or body fluids, such as through sexual intercourse or sharing needles.

High-risk areas

Hepatitis B occurs worldwide but, in particular, it may be found in:

  • Africa
  • Central America
  • China
  • eastern Europe
  • India
  • Russia
  • South America
  • Southeast Asia
  • many of the south Pacific islands

The risk of hepatitis B for tourists is usually considered to be low. However, some activities will increase your risk, such as having unprotected sex, injections or body piercings. 

The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for travellers in high-risk areas who:

  • have unprotected sex, inject drugs, do relief work or work in a medical setting
  • stay in a high-risk area for a long time
  • require medical care in risk areas

The vaccine

Several different vaccines are available for hepatitis B. Most require a course of three doses. The second dose is usually given one month after the first and the third dose is then given five months later. Each dose costs around £35.

Once you have completed the course, you should be protected against hepatitis B for life. Healthcare workers are advised to have a booster dose after five years.

A combined hepatitis A and B vaccine is also available. The hepatitis B vaccine can be given from birth.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is spread by infected mosquitoes. It is usually mild, but in some cases it can cause inflammation (swelling) of the brain (encephalitis), leading to permanent brain damage or death.

High-risk areas

High-risk areas for Japanese encephalitis include tropical northeast Australia and east Asia, including:

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Korea
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Nepal
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

The Japanese encephalitis vaccination is recommended for anyone travelling to a high-risk area who will be:

  • staying for a month or longer, especially in rural areas or just after or during the monsoon season
  • visiting rice fields or travelling close to pig farming areas, even if only for a short time
  • cycling, camping or working in fields, even if only for a short time

The vaccine

There are two vaccines available for Japanese encephalitis. Ideally, they need to be completed a month before you leave. The preferred vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose given 28 days after the first. This vaccine costs around £75 for each dose and is only licensed for people aged over 18.

The other vaccine consists of three doses and is suitable for children older than one. It is not currently licensed in the UK but your GP may prescribe it for you. The second dose is given seven days after the first, and the third dose is given 28 days after this. This vaccine needs to be completed at least 10 days before you leave, in case you have an allergic reaction.

Both vaccines will require a booster after one year. The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is not suitable for babies younger than one.

The course can sometimes be accelerated. This involves two doses being given one week apart, or three doses with a week in between each dose. This still needs to be completed at least 10 days before you travel. You will need to have a booster three months later.

Meningococcal meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is a potentially serious bacterial infection if it’s not treated quickly. It is spread through coughs and sneezes.

Different strains of meningococcal bacteria cause different meningococcal infections. Groups B and C are the most common in the UK, and vaccination against group C meningitis is now part of the childhood vaccination programme. Groups A, Y and W135 are more common elsewhere in the world.

High-risk areas

High-risk areas for meningococcal meningitis include:

  • parts of Africa
  • Saudi Arabia

Vaccination against groups A, C, Y and W135 meningitis is recommended if you are travelling to a high-risk area and you will be:

  • staying for longer than one month
  • backpacking
  • living with locals in rural areas
  • attending the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages (religious journeys to Mecca, the centre of the Islamic world) in Saudi Arabia
  • doing seasonal work in the Hajj area of Saudi Arabia

Visitors arriving in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, or to undertake seasonal work in the Hajj area, require proof of vaccination against groups A, C, Y and W135 meningitis.

The vaccine

The conjugate ACYW135 meningococcal vaccination will protect you against groups A, C, Y and W135 meningitis. This should be given two to three weeks before you travel and costs around £35.

For adults and children over five years of age, a single dose provides protection for about five years. For children under five years of age when they were first vaccinated, the vaccine gives protection for two to three years.

For infants aged between two months and two years, the initial dose of the vaccine must be followed by a second dose three months later.

The meningitis vaccine is not suitable for babies younger than two months old.

Where further advice is required

Speak to your GP before having any vaccinations if:

  • you are pregnant
  • you are breastfeeding
  • you have an immune deficiency
  • you have any allergies
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Vaccines P-Z

The following vaccinations will protect against conditions starting with the letters P to Z.

Read information about vaccinations for conditions starting with A-M and find out about the potential side effects of travel vaccinations.

The areas that are considered to be of high risk for any disease may change. For up-to-date travel information on the country you are visiting, check:

Poliomyelitis (polio)

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a serious infection caused by a virus. It is spread through contact with human stools, contaminated food and water, or person-to-person contact.

High-risk areas

High-risk areas for polio include several countries in Africa and the Indian subcontinent, in particular:

  • Afghanistan
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan

In the UK, children are vaccinated against polio under the childhood vaccination programme. This means that many people in the UK will already be fully vaccinated against polio.

The polio vaccination is recommended for anyone travelling to a high-risk area who:

  • has not been vaccinated before
  • has not been fully vaccinated (in the UK you should receive five doses of the polio vaccine)
  • had their last dose of the polio vaccine 10 or more years ago

The vaccine

Children aged under 10 will receive their polio vaccine as part of the childhood vaccination programme.

Children aged 10 or over and adults who have never been vaccinated will need three doses of the vaccine, each one month apart. You can have a booster dose 5–10 years after this, followed by a second booster dose after another 10 years, which should protect you for life.

Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated against polio, or who has not had a booster dose in the last 10 years, will need to have a booster dose of the polio vaccine.

The polio vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines, such as diphtheria and tetanus. The polio vaccine is not suitable for babies younger than two months old.

Rabies

Rabies causes spasms, extreme thirst, fear of water (hydrophobia), madness and paralysis. Once symptoms have developed, it is almost always fatal. Rabies is usually spread through the saliva of an animal that is carrying the virus.

High-risk areas

Rabies is found in animals almost everywhere, but most human cases occur in:

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • South America

Vaccination against rabies is usually carried out as a precautionary measure, in case you are bitten by an animal that might have rabies and medical attention is not available.

The rabies vaccine is recommended for anyone who is:

  • travelling to an area where rabies is common in animals (such as jungle habitats) for one month or more, and where there is no access to prompt and safe medical care
  • travelling to an area where rabies is common and carrying out activities that expose them to rabies, such as trekking in a jungle
  • working abroad in close contact with animals, such as vets or animal handlers at zoos

The vaccine

Two rabies vaccines are available in the UK. Vaccination usually requires a course of three doses for protection and costs around £50 a dose. The second dose is given seven days after the first. The third dose is given 21 or 28 days after the first, depending on which vaccine is used.

Vaccination should be completed before your departure to allow your body to develop full immunity. Booster doses are usually only recommended for people at high risk of rabies (such as vets).

There is no minimum age for one of the rabies vaccines, and the other is usually given from one year of age onwards.

Tetanus

Tetanus is a serious infection that affects the body's nervous system. Tetanus bacteria are present in soil and manure and can enter the body through a wound or cut.

High-risk areas

Tetanus is found throughout the world. Any location where medical attention may not be available if you hurt yourself is considered to be a high-risk area. 

In the UK, children are vaccinated against tetanus under the childhood vaccination programme. This means that many people in the UK will already be fully vaccinated against tetanus.

A tetanus vaccination is usually recommended for anyone who:

  • has not been vaccinated before
  • has not been fully vaccinated (in the UK you should receive five doses of the tetanus vaccine)
  • is travelling to a country with limited medical facilities, and whose last dose of the tetanus vaccine was more than 10 years ago

The vaccine 

Children under 10 years of age will receive their tetanus vaccine as part of the childhood vaccination programme.

Children who are 10 years of age or over and adults who have never been vaccinated will need three doses of the vaccine, each one a month apart. You can have a booster dose 5–10 years after this, followed by a second booster dose after another 10 years, and then you will be protected for life.

Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated, or has not had a booster dose in the last 10 years, will need to have a booster dose of the tetanus vaccine.

The tetanus vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines, such as diphtheria and polio. The tetanus vaccine is not suitable for babies younger than two months old.

Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis is a serious infection that can cause flu-like symptoms and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). It is usually spread through tick bites, but it can also be caught through drinking unpasteurised milk.

High-risk areas

Tick-borne encephalitis is mainly found in forested areas. High-risk areas include:

  • the far eastern part of the former Soviet Union, including eastern Russia and Siberia
  • some parts of China and Japan
  • western Russia
  • Austria
  • Hungary
  • the Balkans
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Scandinavia
The tick-borne encephalitis vaccine is recommended for anyone who plans to:
  • live in a high-risk area
  • work in a high-risk area, for example as a farmer or forest worker
  • travel to high-risk areas during late spring or summer, particularly if camping or hiking

The vaccine

The vaccination is not available on the NHS. A private prescription is needed to get the medication. The medication usually costs around £55, but this can vary between pharmacies.

The vaccination requires a course of three doses for full protection. The second dose is given one to three months after the first, and provides immunity for about one year. A third dose, given 5–12 months after the second, provides immunity for up to three years.

A booster dose can be given up to three years after the third dose for continued protection. Boosters can continue to be given every three to five years if protection is still necessary.

The course can sometimes be accelerated. This involves two doses being given two weeks apart.

The tick-borne encephalitis vaccine is not suitable for babies younger than one.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that is spread through coughs and sneezes. It can cause a cough, weight loss and night sweats, and can usually be cured with antibiotics.

High-risk areas

High-risk areas for TB include:

  • Africa (sub-Saharan and northwest)
  • the tropical Asia-Pacific regions, including the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia
  • South America

The TB vaccine may be recommended for children under 16 years of age who are going to be living or working with local people in a high-risk area for over a year.

The vaccine

The Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) provides protection against TB. The vaccine used to be given to all children at 15 years of age, but this was stopped in 2005.

GPs and travel clinics cannot administer the BCG and arrangements will need to be made with a local TB service.

If you need to be vaccinated against TB, you will first be given a Mantoux skin test. This checks how sensitive you are to the TB vaccine. Your skin reaction will be checked 2 to 10 days later.

A positive reaction suggests that you have already been infected with the bacteria that cause TB and you may already be immune. If so, you will not need to have the vaccine. If you have a negative result to the Mantoux test, you will be given the vaccine as a single injection.

The BCG can be given from birth, and children who are under six years of age do not usually need to have the Mantoux test first.

Typhoid fever

Typhoid fever is a potentially fatal infection that causes diarrhoea and a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or over. It is spread through contact with human stools, usually as a result of poor sanitation and personal hygiene.

High-risk areas

Typhoid is found throughout the world, but is more likely to occur in areas where there is poor sanitation and hygiene. In particular, risk areas include:

  • Africa
  • Central America
  • the Indian subcontinent
  • the Middle East
  • South America
  • South and Southeast Asia

The typhoid fever vaccination is recommended for anyone travelling to a high-risk area. In particular, it is recommended for people who will:

  • be staying with or visiting the local population
  • have frequent or prolonged exposure to conditions where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor

The vaccine

This vaccine is currently available on the NHS if recommended for travel purposes.

Ideally, the typhoid vaccine should be given at least one month before you travel but, if necessary, it can be given closer to your travel date. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so you will still need to avoid contaminated food or water and pay careful attention to your personal hygiene.

The vaccine is available as either a single injection or three doses of an oral capsule taken on alternate days. The vaccine protects against typhoid fever for about three years. A combined typhoid and hepatitis A vaccine is also available.

The typhoid fever vaccine is not suitable for infants younger than two. 

Yellow fever

Yellow fever can cause headaches, a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or over and bleeding, and it can be fatal. It is passed to humans through bites of infected mosquitoes.

High-risk areas

High-risk areas for yellow fever include:

  • South America
  • parts of sub-Saharan Africa

Some countries require you to have an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) before they will let you into the country. The certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever.

The yellow fever vaccination is recommended for anyone who is:

  • travelling to or living in an area or country where yellow fever is found
  • travelling to a country that requires an ICVP for entry

The vaccine

Anyone aged nine months or older can be given a single dose of the vaccine, which will provide protection against yellow fever for 10 years. After this time, a booster dose will be required.

You will need to have the yellow fever vaccine a minimum of 10 days before you are due to travel. This is because your ICVP is only valid 10 days after your vaccination and then remains valid for 10 years.

Children aged six to nine months old should only be vaccinated against yellow fever if the risk of developing the condition during travel is unavoidable. The yellow fever vaccine is not suitable for children under six months old.

The yellow fever vaccination is only available from designated centres and costs around £50. You can find your local centre on the NaTHNaC (National Travel Health Network and Centre) website.

If you cannot be vaccinated against yellow fever for medical reasons (or for infants aged under nine months), your GP may be able to issue you with a medical waiver letter. This will explain why you are unable to have the vaccine.

Where further advice is required

Speak to your GP before having any vaccinations if:

  • you are pregnant
  • you are breastfeeding
  • you have an immune deficiency
  • you have any allergies
     
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Where can I get it?

Not all travel vaccinations are free, and not all will be available from your GP. If you know which vaccinations you need, it is a good idea to call your GP surgery to find out whether they are available there and how much they will cost.

If your GP cannot provide the vaccinations you need, they should be able to give you details of a specialist travel clinic.

Yellow fever vaccines are only available from designated centres. The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) can help you find where you can get a yellow fever vaccination.

Cost

Some vaccinations for travel may be available free of charge on the NHS. This will depend on your risk of developing the medical condition, for example where you are travelling and what you are planning to do on your trip. The following vaccines may be free of charge:

  • diphtheria, poliomyelitis (polio) and tetanus booster
  • hepatitis A
  • meningitis C
  • typhoid

The following vaccines are not usually available free on the NHS for overseas travel:

  • cholera
  • hepatitis B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • other meningococcal vaccines
  • rabies
  • tick-borne encephalitis
  • tuberculosis
  • yellow fever

Your GP may charge for these vaccines (including an administration fee), although the fee will generally be less than at private clinics.

The cost of travel vaccines at private clinics will vary, but could be around £50 for each dose of a vaccine. Therefore, if a vaccine requires three doses, the total cost could be around £150. It is worth taking this into consideration when budgeting for your trip.

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Side effects

Some people may have side effects such as a high temperature or nausea (feeling sick) after having certain travel vaccinations. Severe reactions are rare.

Cholera vaccine

After having the cholera vaccine, up to 1% of people may have symptoms that are similar to a mild stomach upset, such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea. Severe reactions are rare.

Diphtheria vaccine

After having the diphtheria vaccine, it is common for there to be temporary soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site. This usually disappears within a few weeks and is not a cause for concern. Severe reactions are very rare.

Hepatitis A vaccine

After having the hepatitis A vaccine, some people develop temporary soreness, redness and hardening of the skin at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site. This usually disappears quickly and is not a cause for concern.

Much less common side effects include:

  • tiredness
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • a slightly raised temperature – a normal temperature is 36–36.8C (96.8–98.24F)

Hepatitis B vaccine

After having the hepatitis B vaccine, some people develop temporary soreness and redness at the injection site. Severe reactions are rare.

Japanese encephalitis vaccine

After having the Japanese encephalitis vaccine, around 20% of people develop temporary soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site. About 10% of people who have the vaccine experience other side effects such as:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F)
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • chills
  • dizziness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal pain

In a small number of cases (about 0.6%), an allergic reaction to the vaccination can occur. The reaction can cause a rash, swelling of the face, and in rare cases breathing problems.

Any allergic reaction usually occurs within minutes of having the injection, although in some cases it can be delayed for up to two weeks. This is why the course should be completed at least 10–14 days before you travel.

Meningococcal meningitis vaccine

After having the ACWY vaccine to protect against groups A, C, W135 and Y meningitis, about 10% of people experience soreness and redness at the injection site. This usually lasts around 24–48 hours. Mild fever can also occur (this is usually more common in young children than in adults). Severe reactions are very rare.

Poliomyelitis vaccine

After having the poliomyelitis vaccine, it is common for there to be temporary soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site, which usually disappears within a few weeks and is not a cause for concern. Severe reactions are very rare.

Rabies vaccine

After having the rabies vaccine, some people experience temporary soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site for 24–48 hours after the vaccination. In rare cases, some people may also experience:

  • a mild fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • vomiting
  • a rash

Severe reactions are very rare.

Tetanus vaccine

After having the tetanus vaccine, it is common for there to be temporary soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. A small, painless lump may also form at the injection site, which usually disappears within a few weeks and is no cause for concern. Severe reactions are very rare.

Tick-borne encephalitis vaccine

After having the tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, some people experience temporary soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site. Some people may also experience a mild fever within 12 hours of having the vaccination. This usually disappears within 24–48 hours. Severe reactions are rare.

Tuberculosis vaccine

After having the tuberculosis vaccine, children may feel dizzy and they may develop a rash.

In all cases, a small, raised, red spot usually develops at the site of the injection within two to six weeks. This can grow into a circle up to 7mm in diameter, which may be crusty where fluid has dried on the surface, and it may also be bruised. A small scar is usually left at the site of the vaccination.

Typhoid fever vaccine

After having the typhoid fever vaccine, some people experience temporary soreness, redness, swelling or hardness at the injection site. About 1% of people experience a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F), while less common side effects include:

  • abdominal pain
  • headache
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea

Severe reactions are rare.

Yellow fever vaccine

After having the yellow fever vaccine, 10–30% of people will experience mild side effects including:

  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • soreness at the injection site
  • mild fever

Reactions at the injection site usually occur within one to five days after being vaccinated, although other side effects may last for up to two weeks.

An allergic reaction to the vaccine occurs in one case out of every 130,000 doses of the vaccine given.

Reporting side effects

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine that you are taking. It is run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). See the Yellow Card Scheme website for more information.

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“Pearn's Pharmacies, putting patients first”

Pearn's Pharmacy Services

Common Ailment Service

Primary Choice is a campaign to help the public choose the right health advice in the community.

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Prescription   

Repeat, one-off prescriptions. Collect in store or home delivery.

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Funded Services

Browse our NHS funded services offered in our stores.

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COVID-19   

We are receiving an increase in the number of requests for delivery of medicines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Find a GP   

Use our GP locator service and nearest Pearn's Pharmacy Branch

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