March 2, 2017


Any time you’re leaving the country, you should consider any sort of health issues that may come up. After all, if you’re hospitalized overseas, the situation is much more complicated and probably more expensive than if you went into your local hospital. Many countries require you to show proof of immunization before they even allow you to enter.

All the information you’ll need is at the website for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It isn’t the easiest site in the world to navigate, but the info you’re looking for is under the Traveler’s Health tab above the hero banner (that’s the big picture at the top). Under that tab, click on “Destinations.” Input any special considerations and find your destination in the drop-down. The landing page for your destination will tell you the Vaccines and Medicines that you’ll need before you leave for your trip. It also gives you other useful recommendations for staying safe on your trip.


Where do I get vaccinations?

Once you’ve done the research, check with your local health department to find where to get your vaccinations. You can also check with the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) online for travel medicine specialists or the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) for infectious disease specialists. If you need Yellow Fever vaccination, you’ll need to go to an authorized vaccine center. The CDC has a guide to locations here.


Does my health insurance cover the cost of vaccinations?

Most insurance plans are required to cover the cost of preventive care, such as vaccinations. Some older plans are not required, however, so it’s a good idea to check with your provider before you schedule an appointment.

It’s important to remember that some vaccines require multiple shots to become fully effective, so you should see your doctor at least four to six weeks before your trip.


Travelers should always check with the Center of Disease Control to get the latest requirements for traveling to foreign countries. Immunizations and vaccinations are required in some countries for entry and also to re-enter into the United States after visiting countries that have had outbreaks of infectious diseases.