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Which travel vaccines do I need?
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About travel vaccines
The need for vaccines depends on which country you are going to, what you are going to do there and how long you are going to be away. Your own state of health, age and previous vaccination status as well as the current epidemiological situation are also included in the assessment. Therefore, you should discuss this with your doctor / vaccination office before you travel.
In good time
For most vaccines, it takes at least 1-2 weeks after vaccination to obtain protection. Some vaccines must also be given twice or more times for you to have full effect. To get the best possible effect, it is therefore wise to start vaccination well in advance of your trip.
Everyone has to pay for travel vaccines and malaria protection.
All vaccinations must be registered in the Norwegian immunisation registry SYSVAK. You can check which vaccines you or your children (under the age of 16) have received in Norway at helsenorge.no:
- Vaccines (helsenorge.no)
Some countries require that you bring documentation of vaccination against certain diseases. A doctor can help you with this.
If you are vaccinated abroad, it is important that you receive written documentation about the type of vaccine and the date of vaccination, so that you can have this registered in the Norwegian immunisation registry after you return to Norway or complete the vaccination upon your return.
Information about vaccines in connection with your trip can be obtained from a doctor, travel medical centre or vaccination clinic in the municipality. In the case of children and vaccines in the childhood immunisation programme, the public health clinic can be contacted.
Vaccines everyone should have
Everyone should be vaccinated according to the childhood immunisation programme and ensure they have taken the necessary booster doses.
Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio
In general, everyone should be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio.
Adults who have been vaccinated with the basic vaccine should also take one dose of booster vaccine against the diseases approximately every ten years. Even if you travel to a country where there is no increased risk of being infected, it is still recommended to have a booster dose together with travel vaccination and advice.
Adults who do not know if they have been vaccinated against measles, mumps or rubella, or have had these diseases, are advised to take at least one dose of MMR vaccine. This is especially important before you travel to countries where measles, mumps and rubella are more common than in Norway.
- Vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR vaccine)
- Do I need a booster dose of the measles vaccine (MMR vaccine)?
Vaccine advice for different continents
Below you will find an overview of which vaccines are relevant when traveling to these continents:
- Australia and Oceania
- The Middle East
- North America, South America and the Caribbean
About the travel vaccines
Be aware that if you need an international certificate of vaccination (yellow) before travel, this can be ordered from and issued by healthcare personnel.
Yellow fever vaccine
Yellow fever is found in Africa, South America and Central America, and the yellow fever vaccine is recommended for anyone traveling to an area at risk of yellow fever infection.
Some countries, both with and without the risk of yellow fever infection, may require documentation of yellow fever vaccination (international vaccination certificate issued by health personnel) upon entry. This applies to all travellers who come from, or travel through, countries with a risk of yellow fever infection (also low-risk countries) and may also apply to stopovers in these countries.
It takes some time from vaccination until you obtain protection. The international yellow fever certificate is therefore only valid from 10 days after you have received the vaccine but is then valid for life (because the vaccine usually provides lifelong protection).
The yellow fever vaccine can be given from the age of 9 months, but most countries do not require a vaccination certificate for children under one year of age.
Specific requirements for yellow fever vaccination in different countries may change from time to time.
Hepatitis A vaccine
Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for travellers to several countries where there is a high incidence of hepatitis A. The incidence of hepatitis A is particularly high in Africa, South America, the Middle East and large parts of Asia.
Hepatitis B vaccine
The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for health personnel and staff in orphanages who work in areas where hepatitis B is widespread. It is also relevant for travellers who may have unprotected sex, inject drugs or come into contact with the health service.
Japanese encephalitis vaccine
Japanese encephalitis vaccine may be appropriate for some who are staying in rural areas where the disease is endemic. This must be considered in consultation with health professionals.
Cholera vaccine is only recommended before traveling to areas with cholera, for aid workers in the event of natural disasters or war, for people who have to live in poor hygienic conditions without access to clean drinking water and for people who lack stomach acid or using antacids.
Vaccination against meningococci is recommended before staying in areas where there is an outbreak of meningococcal disease and certain areas in Africa.
Some countries and educational institutions require documentation of meningococcal vaccination and documented meningococcal ACWY vaccination is a requirement to obtain a visa in connection with a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
When travelling to, and staying for more than four weeks in, a country with a polio outbreak, everyone must have been vaccinated against polio during the last 12 months before returning home / leaving the country you are visiting. If you travel to a country with this requirement, you must bring an international vaccination certificate as documentation of the vaccination.
The rabies vaccine is relevant for those who are going to live or travel in areas with rabies where medical treatment is not readily available, and for people who are going to work with animals that may be infected with rabies.
Tick-borne encephalitis vaccine (TBE vaccine)
Tick-borne encephalitis vaccine (TBE vaccine) is recommended for people who are to stay in the woods and fields, for example in connection with orienteering, forestry work, hiking or camping, in areas where the disease is endemic.
Outside Norway, this applies to parts of Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, Åland, Bornholm and in coastal areas and by large lakes in southern Sweden.
The vaccine is not recommended for tourist trips to cities in these areas.
Tuberculosis vaccine (BCG)
Tuberculosis vaccine (BCG) may be appropriate for people at increased risk of tuberculosis infection who have not previously been BCG-vaccinated, and who may have close contact with the local population and will stay for more than three months in countries with a high incidence of tuberculosis.
Typhoid vaccine is recommended for people who are going to travel to areas where typhoid fever is widespread, mainly in Asia. The risk of infection increases with close contact with the local population and with the length of stay.
Vaccine advice for pregnant women
Pregnant women in the second and third trimesters should take the annual influenza vaccine, but otherwise, pregnant women should generally avoid vaccines unless there is a high risk of infection for certain diseases in the country you are travelling to. Contact a doctor / vaccination clinic for help in assessing the risk of infection against the risk of vaccination.
If you choose to travel to an area with a high risk of infection from diseases for which there is a vaccine, taking vaccines will often mean less risk to the mother and foetus than the risk of getting the disease against which the vaccine is given.
Vaccine advice for children
Children are recommended to have started the childhood immunisation programme before travelling abroad. Children who in the first year of life should have longer stays in countries with a higher incidence of infectious diseases, can start the programme earlier to reach two or three vaccine doses given against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Hib, hepatitis B and pneumococcal vaccine. When travelling to countries or areas with outbreaks or a high incidence of measles, both in and outside Europe, consideration should be given to bringing forward the MMR vaccine for children younger than 15 months.
For longer stays abroad (for example when postings), it may be a good idea for them to also take vaccines that are offered as part of the childhood immunisation programme in the country you are staying in.
Young children who are taken to non-western countries should in principle take the same travel vaccines as adults, if the vaccines are approved for their age.
How early can the various travel vaccines be given to young children?
Most vaccines have a lower age limit. There are several reasons for this; some vaccines have no effect if given early in life and some may have a lasting immune response in case of repeated vaccination or infection later in life. Some vaccines also increase the risk of complications in children if they are given too early. Efficacy and safety in the youngest children have also not been studied for all vaccines.
Vaccine advice for travel to former homelands
After several years in Norway, immigrants usually have no protection against the most common infectious diseases in their country of origin. It is therefore important that immigrants also protect themselves with vaccines and take preventive medication against malaria before visiting countries where this is recommended.
Vaccine advice for people from the age of 65
If you are 65 years or older and / or belong to defined risk groups for influenza and pneumococcal disease, you should be vaccinated against these diseases regardless of whether or not you are travelling.