General thoughts about vaccines

#1 Nov 7th, 2018, 21:53
Join Date:
Aug 2009
North Carolina, USA
  • sam78a is offline
I have not been a regular on IM, as I have not done very recent travel to India. (last trip there was over 3 yrs ago to Leh; took prior trips to the lowlands of India).

I never got any vaccinations when I was in India. However, in December, I am going to Ethiopia, and I see that there is a big list of recommended shots, and they seem similar to those of India.

In general, what kind of shots do most of you take prior to travel? I see that typhoid, Hep A, Yellow Fever, Malaria, Typhoid, and Meningitis and the most common. But, I am having trouble figuring out what is really needed (or is a good idea) and what is not that critical.

I know travel clinics are in the business to provide me with as many shots as possible. I don't want to die in Ethiopia from a disease, but I don't want to waste money on something that is not necessary.

Any general thoughts?
#2 Nov 7th, 2018, 21:58
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
Join Date:
Dec 2005
over a 'wine-dark sea'
  • theyyamdancer is offline
I would take advice on vaccinations seriously for a trip to Ethiopia. Preferably ask your G.P.

The malaria in Africa is even worse than the malaria in India. It is the deadly sort.

I have not (yet) visited Ethiopia; planned it many times ! Enjoy.
#3 Nov 7th, 2018, 22:26
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North Carolina, USA
  • sam78a is offline
info re: malaria is very helpful, thanks.
#4 Nov 8th, 2018, 04:15
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Chennai, India
  • Nick-H is offline
I think it is a good idea to be up to date with all the stuff we got in childhood, some of which might have lapsed.

Is it a yellow-fever area? If so, then getting the immunisation may be important not only for the visit, but for visiting other countries afterwards. Keep the paperwork for that one!

Immunisation against tetanus is a good idea for anyone even travelling as far as their garden. Talking about malaria is out of fashion here now, although it still exists in India. I think the majority of a rather large annual death rate happen on the African continent, but no idea about specific countries/regions.

Likewise, Rabies. I have now heard of two rabies deaths both in USA, both Indian-origin people who contracted it visiting home --- and one was a doctor who should certainly have known better. No second chances with that one.

Have a great, disease-free trip!
Life gets aadhar every day.
#5 Nov 8th, 2018, 17:23
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Apr 2012
Banana Republic
  • lovetotravel123 is offline
The Yellow fever vaccine is a must if you land in India from a Yellow Fever region or have even transited and spent a day or so in a yellow fever area. For example if you reside in Europe you dont need the yellow fever vaccine but if you fly to India through Ethiopia and overnight there then you do. The immigration authorities have always asked for my yellow fever certificate when they see that my passport is from a country in S. America. If you dont have it you can either stay in quarantine for some days or catch the next flight home.

Stay uptodate with your tetanus shots. And as an option you could take a typhoid vaccine and the Hepatitis A and B. I took the latter two in India and was warned by the doctor that taking the vaccine is not a free pass to eat anything and everything but to exercise the same level of caution with raw foods.

As for the rabies spectre - as Nick says there are no second chances with rabies. No matter how cute stay away from animals and resist the temptation to pet them or feed them. In India there are an estimated twenty thousand deaths from rabies alone per year. So best be careful.

I have right now returned from Bangalore where there is a rise in H1N1 cases. Its upto you to decide whether you want to take a flu shot or not as there is so much controversy about it. I always take the flu shot every year. But then I am a vaccine freak!!!
#6 Nov 8th, 2018, 18:21
Join Date:
Aug 2006
  • nycank is offline
Originally Posted by sam78a View Post
Any general thoughts?
Your first step should be a call to your primary health care provider. He/She might refer you to a Infectious & Tropical Diseases Specialist.

If you are less than 60 year old, a Yellow Fever shot is strongly recommended. Depending on where you are, this is an advance appointment, and not covered by any health insurance.
#7 Nov 9th, 2018, 13:59
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Sep 2001
Land that shakes and bakes.
  • edwardseco is offline
The Yellow fever vaccine is a must if you land in India from a Yellow Fever region
Moot in this case. But, handy to remember..
#8 Nov 9th, 2018, 14:31
Join Date:
May 2010
Austin, Texas
  • professorm is offline
For Americans, CDC site provides necessary information in this regard. Check it out.

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