Vaccination and travel

Staying healthy during travel is a concern for many. One way to prevent major inconveniences is to be vaccinated before your departure.

Why should you be vaccinated before you travel?

Vaccination consists of administering an infectious agent (virus or bacteria) into the human body, by various means (oral, subcutaneous, intramuscular, etc.), that is completely innocuous (such as fragments of a virus). This enables the body to develop immunity against the given infectious agent, which means that the immune system is able to defend itself against a possible infection.

Whether or not you get vaccinated is an important decision that can have serious consequences. There are many myths and misconceptions about the issue of vaccination. Since vaccination can prevent infections that can be very serious and have permanent effects, it’s advisable to weigh the pros and cons. When travelling outside of Canada, there may be a higher risk of contracting various infections. Depending on the travel destination and travel conditions, some vaccines may be recommended or even mandatory.

Why should you be vaccinated before you travel?

Who should I talk to for information about vaccines?

Your pharmacist is an important ally when it comes to getting vaccinated in preparation for travel. Pharmacists in Ontario and New Brunswick can prescribe and administer vaccinations required for your trip. Although pharmacists in Quebec cannot currently prescribe vaccines, they can help you to determine what your needs are. Additionally, a nurse is often available at the pharmacy to prescribe and administer the required vaccines.

In addition to providing information about vaccination, your pharmacist can recommend other preventive measures against disease, including taking certain drugs. He/she can also provide more general advice concerning other things such as sun protection, water consumption, mosquito protection, a health travel kit, etc. Consulting your pharmacist is an easy and accessible way of preventing health issues during travel and after you return. 

Who should I talk to for information about vaccines?

What vaccines should I receive?

The nature of the vaccines you should receive depends on several factors, including your vaccination history, age, health status, lifestyle, travel destination, and the travel conditions your trip involves. If you plan to travel to Europe, it goes without saying that the preventive measures won’t be the same as those for areas where health conditions and hygiene are unfavourable!

Additionally, in order to be admitted into certain countries, you must show proof of vaccination against some diseases in particular. The healthcare professional that you consult will take into account all of this criteria and will recommend the most appropriate vaccines to be given.

In addition to receiving the appropriate vaccines for your travel destination, it is essential to ensure that your basic vaccinations are up-to-date. The immunization schedule in your province indicates the vaccines that everyone should receive, whether or not you travel. For example, the immunization schedule includes vaccinations against the mumps, measles, rubella, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, and tetanus. In some cases, booster doses are necessary to ensure optimal protection. Therefore, you should make sure that your immunization record is up-to-date before you travel. 

Other practical tips

  • Always keep vaccination booklets of family members in a safe place and bring them with you when you travel.
  • Since many vaccines require several injections to ensure optimal protection, it is important not to wait until the last minute to get vaccinated. See a healthcare professional as soon as possible, preferably at least six weeks before your departure.
  • If a vaccine requires several doses, make sure you receive all of them at the recommended intervals. Neglecting to respect the immunization schedule could compromise your response to the vaccine.

Don’t let disease be part of your travel adventures and find out about vaccination so you have thorough knowledge of the subject. Remember that your pharmacist is always there to help you with any questions you may have about prevention, medications and vaccines!

He/she can even prescribe a medication, if your situation requires it, to prevent mountain sickness or malaria (paludism) and treat travellers' diarrhea. Fill out the form provided below, and bring it for your next visit at the pharmacy!


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Vaccination and travel

Staying healthy during travel is a concern for many. One way to prevent major inconveniences is to be vaccinated before your departure.