travel vaccines

If you're planning on travelling outside of the UK anytime soon, you may want to push pause on the fun plans and start researching the serious stuff. Yes, we're talking about travel vaccinations! Those pesky medical things that have a tendency to be forgotten about until the last min. Well, plan properly and get yourself protected way for utter peace of mind.  

travel vaccines

When should I get my vaccinations?

Not all vaccines have the same timeline. Some kick in quite quickly, while others need time to start working. Start seeking advice at least eight weeks before you travel and ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse about the best times you should get your jabs done. 

Find out what vaccines are recommended for the country you’re headed to, and your Superdrug Pharmacist or nurse will be able to advise on the best options and timelines for you, taking into consideration your vaccination and medical history.

Not sure what vaccinations you need? Our handy guide is here to help you find what vaccines to consider for each country. If you have any questions, you can also visit one of our Travel Clinics. Click here to book an appointment.

Are travel vaccines free?

Yes and no. The following vaccines are sometimes free on the NHS:

  • Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus (combined booster)
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A – including when combined with typhoid or hepatitis B
  • Cholera

If you're unable to get these vaccinations for free with your GP, or they are unavailable (or have a long waiting list), you can book an appointment in selected Superdrug stores.

You are likely to have to pay for all other vaccinations required, so it’s best to add this expense into your holiday budget to avoid disappointment. These vaccinations include:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Tick Borne Encephalitis

You may also need malaria tablets. 

These vaccinations are available in some Superdrug stores and appointments can be made online.

What to think about before you travel

The country:

Well, duh, of course, you know the country you're going to. But what we mean is really sit and consider/research the country. But, just because you got a vaccination last year for your holiday doesn't automatically mean it will cover you for your upcoming holiday so always do research on the country you are about to visit. Some diseases are more prevalent in certain countries but not in others. Make sure you are confident that you've got all of the necessary vaccines for the country you're going to.

Previous travel vaccinations:

Perhaps you vaguely remember a few shots you had at school? Or from your travels a few years back? Request your medical history or consult you previous documentation to check what you are current;t covered for. You may already be protected and not need any further vaccinations or you may need a booster dosage. 

When you're travelling:

Some diseases are more likely to spread during certain seasons, for example monsoon or rainy season, so always do your research before you travel.

How long will you be travelling for:

The longer you are abroad, the more chance you have of catching a bug, so this also plays a part. 

What conditions you’re staying in:

Your accommodation and any activities you're planning can mean you're more vulnerable to certain illnesses. For example, if you're going on a camping trip you may come into contact with more animals than you would say at an all-inclusive hotel. So double check what the red flags are depending on your exact location (as well as the country). 

Your health and immune system:

Some of us are naturally more susceptible to diseases, and certain medical conditions might prevent you from being able to get a vaccine. Always speak to your doctor, and be prepared to alter your travel plans if necessary.

Family planning:

If you're pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding, always speak to a doctor before making travelling arrangements to countries that require vaccinations or are known to have certain diseases. And this isn't just limited to the ladies! Men, should also check before they travel too.