If you require any vaccinations relating to foreign travel you need to make an appointment with the practice nurse to discuss your travel arrangements. This will include which countries and areas within countries that you are visiting to determine what vaccinations are required. PLEASE NOTE for the time being, we can only advise about vaccinations for travel and give routine ones that are needed. For courses of any private vaccinations eg. rabies and hepatitis B, we suggest going to any private clinic such as Dr Now and Prestwood Pharmacy. They charge the same and appointments will be quicker. This is due temporarily to a nurse shortage.
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Health Advice - Foreign Travel
See the Practice Nurse - Suzi - at least 6 weeks before departure. Vaccinations take this long to work fully and Malaria tablets have to be taken as advised before departure.
Below are a number of diseases you may wish to ask about when visiting the nurse prior to travelling abroad. The nurse will advise you on your requirements depending on your itinerary based on current online information (eg changing Malaria resistance patterns) and arrange an NHS prescription for NHS-prescribable items, which are these:
- Hepatitis A
The NHS rules are that medicines and vaccinations intended for protection outside the UK are not paid for by the NHS. In practice this means Malaria tablets, Hepatitis B vaccine for travel and various other special-case vaccines, and also precautionary antibiotics against non-UK diseases, are not in our NHS contract. They have to be issued on a private prescription, for which we charge a fee. The chemist will also charge their retail price for the items prescribed.Private Prescriptions for Travel
Don't forget the more commonplace dangers of dirty water and gut infections (touch nothing except bottled water as drink, as ice or to wash food) and sexually-transmitted infections (use a condom).
- Be safe
- Be hygienic
- Take a small first aid kit including re-hydration sachets
- Watch what you eat (street food)
- Drink bottled water only
- Avoid ice cubes if they are made with tap water
- Use effective sun protection: SPF 30+ suncream, slip on a shirt, slap on a hat (slop-slip-slap)
- Take any medication advised to protect yourself, like Malaria tablets (previous residents returning to Africa and Asia don't necessarily retain immunity to Malaria).
Take an up-to-date Euro Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to Europe so you get 'reciprocal healthcare' under that country's state system. Make sure your travel insurance is valid by disclosing any pre-existing conditions to your insurer, and sufficient (medical catastrophes in America can cost you a million).
Further Advice on Staying Healthy While Abroad:
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC - formerly E111)
Did you know that you can claim back most of your treatment and medication costs if you fall ill or have an accident in Europe? That's as long as you carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
The EHIC entitles the holder to free or reduced cost, state-provided medical treatment if you fall ill or have an accident while visiting any country in the European Economic Area (EEA). Please note that an EHIC is not a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance and will not cover further treatment or repatriation.
EHICs are issued on an individual basis. All individual travellers are therefore required to carry their own EHIC, regardless of age. If you are a UK resident entitled to NHS care you can apply for an EHIC.
You can apply for an EHIC at the Post Office or online by visiting www.ehic.org.uk. Your application should be processed within 7 days. You can also call the EHIC Application Line (0845 606 2030). Phone applications should be processed within 10 days.
Special considerations for adults
- Varicella (chickenpox) is advised for non-immune adult health care workers, who work in general practice and in hospitals, and who have direct patient contact .
- Hepatitis B is advised for those who may be exposed to blood or blood products through their occupation or life style such as health care workers, ambulance crews and those likely to take sexual risks or use intravenous drugs. Also for those living in households where a member(s) of the household is a hepatitis B virus carrier or attending/teaching in schools in countries where hepatitis B carrier rates are high.
- Influenza and/or pneumococcal vaccine is advised for those more likely to have complications such as those with chronic respiratory, heart, or renal disease; asthma; diabetes mellitus; after splenectomy (pneumococcal) or immunocompromise. Also for those over 65 years of age
- Tetanus booster doses are not required for life in the UK following a full immunisation course i.e. a primary 3 dose course followed by 2 boosters, 5 in total. In the event of a high risk tetanus prone wound, human tetanus specific immunoglobulin should be given. Booster doses of tetanus may also be given at this time if the individual has an incomplete or unknown tetanus immunisation history.
Travellers to areas where medical attention may not be accessible and whose last dose of tetanus was more than 10 years previously, a booster dose should be given prior to travelling, even if the individual has received 5 doses of vaccine previously. This is a precaution in case immunoglobulin is not available in the event of a tetanus prone wound.
- Poliomyelitis after the 5 childhood doses boosters are advised 10 yearly for health care workers who may be exposed to infected patients and for those going to countries where poliomyelitis is still endemic.
- Meningococcal type C vaccination is now recommended under the British Schedule up until the age of 24 years and a travel consultation may be an opportunity to consider this in relation to life in Britain. However it will NOT give any cover against the A and W135 strains prevalent in Africa when the quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine is the type that is recommended.
There is further information about countries and vaccinations required on the links below:
It is important to make this initial appointment as early as possible - at least 6 weeks before you travel - as a second appointment will be required with the practice nurse to actually receive the vaccinations. These vaccines have to be ordered as they are not a stock vaccine. Your second appointment needs to be at least 2 weeks before you travel to allow the vaccines to work.
Some travel vaccines are ordered on a private prescription and these incur a charge over and above the normal prescription charge. This is because not all travel vaccinations are included in the services provided by the NHS.
Travel Health Questionnaire
To help us offer the appropriate advice, please fill out the online form before coming to see the nurse.
Travelling in Europe
If you are travelling to Europe the EU has published useful information for travellers on the European website.