What vaccinations do you need to get if you are traveling abroad? Photo: Unsplash
- who is ready to get vaccinated against coronavirus and how much it costs;
- who will get the vaccine in Ukraine and how effective it will be;
- how to weigh up the risks of vaccination and whether it can be avoided.
Mass vaccinations will open up borders and resume travel. This will be facilitated by the "vaccination passport", which will soon be introduced by Israel, Denmark, Poland, Hungary, and then by other countries also.
However, not coronavirus alone. has been figuring out what vaccinations should be done in 2021 in order not to get infected with other equally dangerous diseases during the trip. The recommendations were devepoed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keep in mind: without some vaccinations, you may not even be allowed to travel abroad.
Vaccination against hepatitis A and B
You can get infected with Hepatitis A through food or water. It does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal. And yet the symptoms are not pleasant: fever, diarrhea, nausea, and yellow skin. Vaccinations must be done twice with an interval of at least six months.
If you plan to get a tattoo, have sex with a new partner, or undergo any medical procedures during a trip, get vaccinated against hepatitis B. The virus is potentially dangerous: it provokes a chronic disease that can later develop into cirrhosis or liver cancer.
The scheme is 0-1-6: the second dose is one month after the first one, and the third is six months after the second one. The Ministry of Health added hepatitis B vaccinations to the National Vaccination Schedule only in 2000. Since then, it has been made for babies in the first year of life. Ukrainians who graduated from school before 2000 are probably not vaccinated.
By the way, ten vaccinations indicated in the calendar are mandatory in Ukraine. The Ministry of Health recommends doing seven more on your own: you buy the vaccine at your own expense in a pharmacy or get vaccinated in a private clinic.
This infectious disease, after identifying clinical symptoms, almost always leads to death. The virus attacks the central nervous system, causing the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed. Rabies is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected animals, and in 99% of cases, dogs become the source of infection. There are two forms of the disease.
- Furious rabies: the person is hyperactive, agitated, frequently afraid of water (hydrophobia), drafts and fresh air (aerophobia). A few days later, he dies of cardiac arrest.
- Paralytic, or dumb, rabies: occurs in one in five people infected. In this form, the disease lasts longer. Muscles gradually become paralyzed, starting from the bite or scratch site. The person slowly falls into a coma and eventually dies.
WHO recommends vaccination for those travelers who plan to spend a lot of time outdoors in remote areas, mountaineering or caving.
If there was no preventive vaccination, after the bite, you will have to undergo emergency vaccination according to the 0-3-7-14-28-90 scheme. In other words, a person will be given 6 vaccinations in 3 months, after that for six months he is strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol, overcooling or overheating in a bath or sauna. Immunity will last for one year.
Vaccinations against hepatitis A-B and rabies will be sufficient if you are going to the USA, Canada, Europe, or the UK.
Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever vaccine
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a flavivirus native to Asia. It belongs to the group of viruses that cause yellow fever. This is an acute disease endemic in tropical regions of Africa, Central and South America. Viruses carriers are infected mosquitoes.
JE is predominantly mild with high fever and headache. For complex cases, from which up to a third of those infected die, spasms, disorientation, paralysis, and coma are typical. According to the WHO, 20-30% of cured patients suffer from cognitive, behavioral, and neurological problems, such as recurrent seizures and loss of speech.
Yellow fever is manifested by severe back pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. In some patients, after the first symptoms, a severe form of the disease occurs: damage to the liver and kidneys, bleeding and jaundice—the skin and pupils turn yellow. In the toxic phase, half of those infected die.
There is no antiviral cure for Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever. The main method of prevention is vaccination.
Without a vaccine against malaria, you shouldn't go to Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, South Asia, and the West of the Pacific Ocean. There is a high chance of encountering infected female Anopheles mosquitoes there. They carry Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria.
In a person without immunity, two weeks after the bite, the first symptoms will appear: fever, headache, and chills. If you do not start treatment within 24 hours, there will be serious complications. Children may experience severe anemia and respiratory failure, and adults often experience internal organ failure.
In 2021, WHO advises people who travel to endemic areas to make chemoprophylaxis, that is, antimalarial drugs that suppress the infection in the blood and thus prevent the disease development.
Vaccination against meningococcal infection
Diseases are provoked by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. It is dangerous with complications: rash, sepsis (dysfunction of internal organs), meningitis (inflammation of the brain protective membranes). The causative agent of infection is spread via airborne transmission.
Bacteria can enter the mucous membrane of a healthy person through the nose or mouth, multiply asymptomatically and do not affect well-being in any way. If meningococcus manages to overcome the body's defenses, it infects the blood, attacks the brain lining and internal organs.
Vaccinations must be done for those who are going to the "meningitis belt" countries of tropical Africa and Saudi Arabia during the dry season (December—June).
Wind, dust from dry soil, cold nights, numerous infections of the upper respiratory tract weaken the protective functions of the nasopharynx, and crowds of nomadic pilgrims in a relatively small area leads to disease outbreaks.
Vaccinations against typhoid fever
Typhoid fever is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi, that spreads through contaminated food and water. Prolonged fever, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, headaches and rashes—these are the threats of nights lodging in places with poor sanitation and exotic food of questionable quality.
According to WHO estimates, up to 20 million people suffer from typhoid fever every year. Of these, about 160 thousand die. An effective vaccine that provides long-term immunity against typhoid fever became available in 2017.
Plan to go abroad? Check:
- a list of recommended vaccinations on an interactive map;
- the current regime of travel between countries during the COVID-19 pandemic on the website of the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine;
- detailed travel recommendations for each country from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.