Know Before You Go
International travel is more popular and easier than ever. Unfortunately, serious diseases are only a plane ride away. Diseases are common in certain parts of the world that we do not see in the U.S. because of our high coverage levels for immunizations. Not only is it important that you are protected during your travels but also when you are ready to head home. Without the necessary vaccines, you could carry home unwanted diseases to your family and friends. Protect yourself, your family, and your community by getting the proper vaccinations before you leave for your trip and minimizing exposure risk while abroad.
Routine, Recommended, and Required
Your destination and planned activities will determine the vaccines you should receive before leaving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks these vaccines in three categories:
- Routine: Vaccines routinely recommended in the U.S. Be sure that you and your children are up-to-date before leaving. Some examples are tetanus, diphtheria, and measles.
- Recommended: Recommended travel vaccines protect you from diseases more common in other parts of the world and vary according to the region. Some examples are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, influenza, and rabies.
- Required: Required vaccines are necessary for your entry into specific countries. In these circumstances, your immunization card is just as important as your passport for entry into the country. Some examples are yellow fever and meningococcal.
To determine which vaccines you need, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Travelers Health Destinations webpage .
When should I see my healthcare provider?
Ideally, you should be vaccinated 4 to 6 weeks before leaving on your trip. Most vaccines need several weeks to become effective in your body. Make healthcare appointments a part of early trip planning activities. Many vaccines are given in a series and require a few days or weeks between shots.
We strongly recommend you speak with your healthcare provider before traveling. You may also need additional information if you belong to one of the following groups:
- Immunocompromised due to chronic illness, such as diabetes or HIV
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Traveling with children or infants
Where do I go?
Travel vaccines are available in a wide range of settings. Your healthcare provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. Be aware that some offices may not routinely stock some of the vaccines.
- Travel vaccinations may be available from your County Health Departments (CHD). Please contact the CHD directly to ask about the availability of vaccines for travelers. Be sure to call ahead regarding clinic hours, vaccine availability and any applicable fees.
- Passport Health, a private provider of travel-related immunization services, can be reached toll-free at:
888-499-PASS (7277). You can view a list of all their Florida locations online.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Travelers' Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Travel Vaccines
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Traveling with Children
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Directory of Yellow Fever Travel Clinics
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Vessel Sanitation Program
- World Health Organization - International Travel and Health
- International Society of Travel Medicine - Directory of Travel Clinics
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Safety and Health During International Travel
- American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
- Travel Health Online (Shoreline, Inc.)