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Vaccines and the Diseases they Prevent

IDC Travel Care stocks all vaccines necessary to protect you during your travels. Our Physicians are uniquely qualified in matching the right regimen to your specific itinerary. They will confidently match you with the conditions likely to exist and those that aren't in your situation, saving you from needless potential reactions and added expense.

Flu: The flu shot helps: Reduces chances of contracting the flu.

Doses: One single shot annually in the arm muscle (or the leg for children).

Recommended for: All children 6 months to 18 years old, People 50 years or older, Women who will be pregnant during the flu season, People who live in nursing homes, adults with chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma, or with any condition that weakens the immune system, household contacts and caregivers of any children younger than 6 months of age (these children are too young to receive the flu vaccine), Any person in close contact with someone in a high-risk group, such as health care workers and household contacts

Best time to get the shot: In October or November. You can still get an influenza vaccine in December or later, but earlier may be more beneficial in preventing flu.

How it works: The influenza vaccine works by causing antibodies to develop in your body. These antibodies provide protection against infection from the flu virus. This antibody reaction may cause fatigue and muscle aches in some people. Each year, the flu vaccine contains several different kinds of the virus. The strains chosen are the ones that researchers say are most likely to show up that year. If the choice is right, the vaccine is 70% to 90% effective in preventing the flu in healthy people under 65 years of age.

Hep A: (We have both pediatric and adult dosing) (

The hepatitis A vaccine protects you against: a type of liver infection called hepatitis A. The vaccine will not protect you from other types of hepatitis.

Basic information: The hepatitis A vaccine is called Havrix or VAQTA. It is a killed, or inactivated vaccine. This means it is made from smaller pieces of the whole hepatitis A virus. After you get the vaccine, your body learns to attack hepatitis A if you are exposed to it. This means you are very unlikely to get sick with hepatitis A. Because no vaccine is 100% effective, however, it is still possible to get hepatitis A after you have been completely vaccinated.

Doses: The vaccine is given as a shot in your arm. You need two vaccinations to make sure you are completely protected against the disease. After receiving the first vaccination, children and adults should have a booster vaccination in 6 to 12 months. You should be protected against the disease within 2 - 4 weeks after getting the first dose.

Recommended for: All children older than age 1, People who work or travel in areas where hepatitis A is common should be vaccinated. <These areas include Africa, Asia (except Japan), the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean.>

Other people who are at higher risk for hepatitis A include: People who use recreational, injectable drugs, People who work with the hepatitis A virus in a laboratory or with primates that may be infected with the virus, People who have chronic liver disease, People who receive clotting factor concentrate to treat hemophilia or other clotting disorders, Military personnel, Men who have sex with other men, Employees of child day care centers and People who care for patients living in long-term nursing homes and other facilities

Who should not receive the vaccine: If you have had hepatitis A in the past, you do NOT need the vaccine. Once you have recovered from the disease, you are immune for life.

Others who should NOT receive the vaccine include:

  • People who are allergic to the components of the vaccine
  • Children less than 1 year old
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers
  • Those who are sick or have a fever (they can delay receiving the vaccine until the illness goes away)

Side effects and risks: Most people have no or only minor side effects from the vaccine. Serious problems are rare, and are mainly due to allergic reactions to a part of the vaccine.

The most common side effect of the vaccine is pain at the injection site. Other rare, but possible, side effects include: Redness, swelling, or bruising at the injection site, Headache, Fever, Fatigue, Muscle aches, Nausea and Loss of appetite.

Hep B (Pediatric and Adult) (

The hepatitis B vaccine protects you against: A disease of the liver caused by hepatitis B virus.

Doses: Long-lasting immunity requires three to four doses of the HBV vaccine, depending on which type of vaccine is used, given as shots. Children should receive their first dose at birth and complete the series by 6 months of age. Typically, the second dose would be given when the infant is 1 month old and the third dose when the child is 6 months old.

Recommended for adults who: Have sex with or live in the same house as a person with hepatitis B virus infection, have sex with more than one partner, seek care in a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing or treatment, or drug treatment, a man who has sex with other men, people who inject drugs or who has a job that involves contact with human blood*, people who are on the staff of, or a client in, an institution for the developmentally disabled*, people who are hemodialysis patients or have end-stage renal disease, people who have HIV infections, Dialysis patients, those with chronic liver disease, You live or travel for more than 6 months a year in countries where hepatitis B is common (it is endemic in China and other parts of Asia…High rates of chronic infections are also found in the Amazon and the southern parts of eastern and central Europe), Prisoner in a correctional facility should also receive the vaccine.

Who should not receive the vaccine: Anyone with a life-threatening allergy to baker's yeast, or to any other component of the vaccine, Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine should not get another dose, Anyone who is moderately or severely ill when a dose of vaccine is scheduled should probably wait until they recover before getting the vaccine.

Side effects and risks: Hepatitis B is a very safe vaccine. Most people do not have any problems with it. Mild problems may include soreness where the shot was given up to about 1 person in 4, temperature of 99.9°F or higher (up to about 1 person in 15). Severe problems are extremely rare. Severe allergic reactions are believed to occur about once in 1.1 million doses. A vaccine, like any medicine, could cause a serious reaction. But the risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. More than 100 million people have gotten hepatitis B vaccine in the United States.

Hep B & HIB


Japanese Encephalitis (

The Japanese Encephalitis vaccine can: prevent JE, however, the JE vaccine is not 100% effective and is not a substitute for mosquito precautions. People who live or travel in certain rural parts of Asia should get the vaccine.

Doses: JE-VC is administered as 2 doses given by intramuscular injection 28 days apart. The series should be completed at least 1 week before potential exposure to JEV. The dose is 0.5 ml. It is not yet clear whether or not booster doses will be needed.

JE-MB is administered as 3 doses by subcutaneous injection on days 0, 7, and 30. An abbreviated schedule where the doses are given on days 0, 7, and 14 days can be used when the longer schedule is not practical. The last dose should be administered at least 10 days before travel begins. The dose is 0.5 ml for children 1-2 years of age and 1.0 ml for children 3 through 17 years of age. Duration of immunity is at least 2 years. A booster dose of JE-MB may be administered 2 years after the primary series when indicated because of planned travel.

Recommended for: JE vaccine has a good safety record; however, not all travelers to countries where JE occurs are at risk for JEV exposure. As a consequence, travelers and their health providers need to weigh the risks and benefits of vaccination as well as the likelihood of exposure to the virus. In general, JE vaccine is recommended for travelers who plan to spend a month or longer in areas where JEV infection of pigs occurs during the time of year when they will be travelling. Because the risk of JE varies based on destination, duration of visit, season of the year, and planned activities, travelers and their healthcare providers will need to weigh the overall risk for travel-associated JE, the high morbidity and mortality when JE occurs, and the low probability of vaccine-associated adverse effects.

JE-Vax (remaining doses expired in May 2011)

Meningococcal/Diphtheria- (Menactra or Menomune) (

What it is? Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness. It is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2 through 18 years of age in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. Meningococcal disease also causes blood infections.

Why get the vaccine? Meningococcal infections can be treated with drugs such as penicillin. Still, about 1 out of every 10 people who get the disease dies from it, and many others are affected for life. This is why preventing the disease through use of meningococcal vaccine is important for people at highest risk.

Meningococcal vaccine: Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) was licensed in 2005. It is the preferred vaccine for people 2 to 55 years of age and is expected to give better, longer-lasting protection and should also be better at preventing the disease from spreading from person to person.

Recommended for: A dose of MCV4 is recommended for all children and adolescents 11 to 18 years of age. This dose is normally given during the routine preadolescent immunization visit (at 11 to 12 years of age). But those who did not get the vaccine during this visit should get it at the earliest opportunity. Other people at increased risk for meningococcal disease include college freshmen living in dormitories, Microbiologists who are routinely exposed to meningococcal bacteria, US military recruits, anyone traveling to, or living in, a part of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa, Anyone who has a damaged spleen, or whose spleen has been removed., Anyone who has terminal complement component deficiency (an immune system disorder), People who might have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.

Who should not get the vaccine: Anyone who has ever had a severe (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose of either meningococcal vaccine should not get another dose, anyone who has a severe (life threatening) allergy to any vaccine component should not get the vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies, anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should probably wait until they recover, (ask your doctor or nurse) People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine, anyone who has ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome should talk with their doctor before getting MCV4.

Potential side effects and risks: The risk of meningococcal vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Mild problems include redness or pain where the shot was given or a fever. Severe yet extremely rare problems can include serious allergic reactions, within a few minutes to a few hours of the shot or a serious nervous system disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (or GBS).


The MMR vaccine is: a "3-in-1" vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella -- all of which are potentially serious diseases of childhood.

Dose: One MMR shot will protect most people from contracting measles, mumps, or rubella throughout their lives. The second MMR shot is recommended to cover people who may not have gotten full protection from the first MMR shot.

Why you should get it? The potential benefits from receiving the MMR vaccine far outweigh the potential risks. Measles, mumps, and rubella are all very serious illnesses. They each can have complications that lead to lifetime disability or even death. For every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it.

Recommended for: First shot for children 12-15 mths. Old and second before child enters kindergarten. Adults over 18 who were born after 1956 should receive it if they only had one MMR vaccine before starting school.

Not recommended for: Women if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant within the next 1 to 3 months. This may harm the baby.

Potential side effects or risks: Most people who receive the MMR will have no problems from it. Others may have minor problems, such as soreness and redness where the shot was given, or fevers. Serious problems from receiving the MMR are rare.


The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine helps protect against: severe infections due to the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae in the blood, in the lungs (pneumonia) and of the coverings of the brain (meningitis)

How it works: The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is an inactivated-bacteria vaccine. After you get a vaccine, your body learns to attack the bacteria if you are exposed to it. This means you are less likely to get sick from an infection due to this type of bacteria. Because no vaccine is 100% effective, it is still possible to get a case of Streptococcus pneumoniae, even after you have been vaccinated.

The vaccine is recommended for: Everyone age 65 or older, High-risk people age 2 or older, persons with heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, alcoholism, diabetes, cirrhosis, cochlear implants, and leaks of cerebrospinal fluid, People with sickle cell disease, People who have had their spleen removed, People who live in nursing homes (extended-care facilities), People who live in any institution where there are other people with long-term health problems, People with conditions that weaken the immune system, such as cancer, HIV, or an organ transplant, People who receive long-term medicines that suppress the immune system, including steroids, Alaskan natives and certain Native American populations over age 50 who live in high-risk areas.

Doses: You need at least one shot of the vaccine. One dose works for most people. You may need a second dose if: You had the first shot more than 5 years ago and you are now over age 65, Your immune system is weakened, You have chronic kidney failure or nephritic syndrome, You have sickle cell disease or your spleen has been removed

Potential side effects or risks: Most people have no or only minor side effects from the pneumococcal vaccine. You may have some pain and redness at the place where you got the shot. Serious problems are rare and are mainly due to allergic reactions to a part of the vaccine. Call your health care provider if moderate or serious side effects appear after the pneumococcal vaccine has been given, or if you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine.

Polio M


PPD (Tubersal)

The PPD skin test is a method used to diagnose tuberculosis (TB). PPD stands for purified protein derivative.

The test site (usually the forearm) is cleansed with rubbing alcohol. The PPD extract is then injected under the top layer of skin, causing a welt to form on the skin. This welt usually goes away in a few hours.

The reaction will take 48 - 72 hours to develop. You must return to your health care provider at that time to have the area checked. This check will determine whether you have had a significant reaction to the PPD test. The reaction is measured in millimeters of firm swelling (induration), not redness, at the site of infection.


Rabies vaccine can prevent rabies: Rabies vaccine is given to people at high risk of rabies to protect them if they are exposed. It can also prevent the disease if it is given to a person after they have been exposed.

Recommended for: People at high risk of exposure to rabies, such as veterinarians, animal handlers, rabies laboratory workers, spelunkers, and rabies biologics production. The vaccine should also be considered for People whose activities bring them into frequent contact with rabies virus or with possibly rabid animals, International travelers who are likely to come in contact with animals in parts of the world where rabies is common.

Doses: The pre-exposure schedule for rabies vaccination is 3 doses, given at the following times:

Dose 1: As appropriate

Dose 2: 7 days after Dose 1

Dose 3: 21 days or 28 days after Dose 1

For laboratory workers and others who may be repeatedly exposed to rabies virus, periodic testing for immunity is recommended, and booster doses should be given as needed. (Testing or booster doses are not recommended for travelers.) Ask your doctor for details.

Potential side effects or risks: A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Serious problems from rabies vaccine are very rare. Mild problems include soreness, redness, swelling, or itching where the shot was given (30% - 74%) headache, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, dizziness (5% - 40%). Moderate problems include hives, pain in the joints, fever (about 6% of booster doses)

Tetanus/Diphtheria (DT) and Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (DTaP)


Recommended for: All people who need protection against these three diseases—diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Routine booster doses are also needed throughout life. Older children and adults without documentation of ever receiving the basic series of shots should receive a primary series of three doses, properly spaced. A single dose of Tdap is recommended for people ages 11 through 64 years in place of one of the Td doses, preferably the next one needed.

Also recommended for adults age 65 years and older who anticipate having close contact with an infant younger than age 12 months (e.g., grandparents, childcare providers, healthcare providers), Children ages 7 through 10 years who had not completed a full primary series of DTaP , unvaccinated older adults (65 years or older) who do not anticipate having contact with an infant but want to be vaccinated with Tdap could be given a one-time dose.

Doses: The DTaP and DT preparations are all given as an injection in the anterolateral thigh muscle (for infants and young toddlers) or in the deltoid muscle (for older children and adults). Tdap and Td are given in the deltoid muscle for children and adults age 7 years and older.

The usual schedule for infants is a series of four doses of DTaP given at 2, 4, 6, and 15–18 months of age. A fifth shot, or booster dose, is recommended between age 4 and 6 years, unless the fourth dose was given late (after the fourth birthday).

For people who were never vaccinated or who may have started but not completed a series of shots, a 3-dose series of Td should be given with 1 to 2 months between dose #1 and #2, and 6 to 12 months between dose #2 and #3. For people younger than age 65 years, one of the doses, preferably the first, should also contain the pertussis component in the form of Tdap. Adults ages 65 years and older may also get Tdap (see answer to preceding question).

Because immunity to diphtheria and tetanus wanes with time, boosters of Td are needed every ten years. Older children and adults who haven't received a pertussis-containing vaccine between the ages of 10 through 64 years should substitute a one-time dose of Tdap (with acellular pertussis) for one of the booster doses of Td.

When adolescents and adults are scheduled for their routine tetanus and diphtheria booster, should they get vaccinated with Td or Tdap? Immunization experts recommend that the first dose of Tdap be given to all adolescents at age 11–12 years as a booster during the routine adolescent immunization visit if the adolescent has finished the childhood DTaP schedule and has not already received a dose of Td or Tdap. If a child age 7–10 years did not complete a primary series in childhood, a one-time dose of Tdap may be given earlier as part of the catch-up vaccinations.

All adults younger than age 65 years should receive a one-time dose of Tdap as soon as feasible. Then, subsequent booster doses of Td should be given every ten years. Adolescents and adults who have recently received Td vaccine can be given Tdap without any waiting period.

If someone experiences a deep or puncture wound, or a wound contaminated with dirt, an additional booster dose may be given if the last dose was more than five years ago. This could be a dose of Td or Tdap, depending on the person's vaccination history. It is important to keep an up-to-date record of all immunizations so that repeat doses don't become necessary. Although it is vital to be adequately protected, receiving more doses than recommended can lead to increased local reactions, such as painful swelling of the arm.

Potential side-effects or risks: Local reactions, such as fever, redness and swelling at the injection site, and soreness and tenderness where the shot was given, are not uncommon in children and adults. These minor local and systemic adverse reactions are much less common with acellular DTaP vaccine; however, a determination of more rare adverse effects can only be made when additional data are available following extended use of DTaP.

Side effects following Td or Tdap in older children and adults include redness and swelling at the injection site (following Td) and generalized body aches, and tiredness (following Tdap). Older children and adults who received more than the recommended doses of Td/Tdap vaccine can experience increased local reactions, such as painful swelling of the arm. This is due to the high levels of tetanus antibody in their blood.

How effective are these vaccines? After a properly spaced primary series of DTaP or Td/Tdap, approximately 95% of people will have protective levels of diphtheria antitoxin and 100% will have protective levels of tetanus antitoxin in their blood. However, antitoxin levels decrease with time so routine boosters with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids are recommended every 10 years. Estimates of acellular pertussis vaccine efficacy range from 80% to 85%—a level believed to be far more efficacious than the previously-used whole cell pertussis vaccine.

Who should not receive these vaccines? Generally, any person who has had a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine component or a prior dose of the vaccine should not receive another dose of the same vaccine. People who had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of DTaP or Tdap vaccine should not receive another dose. A person with a recognized, possible, or potential neurologic condition should delay receiving DTaP or Tdap vaccine until the condition is evaluated, treated, and/or stabilized. Although DTaP vaccine does not cause neurological disorders, receiving the vaccine can cause an already-present underlying condition to show itself.

Typhoid IM (

Typhoid Oral

Vaccine Administration: Primary vaccination with oral Ty21a vaccine consists of 4 capsules, 1 taken every other day. The capsules should be kept refrigerated (not frozen), and all 4 doses must be taken to achieve maximum efficacy. Each capsule should be taken with cool liquid no warmer than 98.6°F (37°C), approximately 1 hour before a meal. This regimen should be completed 1 week before potential exposure. The vaccine manufacturer recommends that Ty21a not be administered to infants or children aged <6 years.

Primary vaccination with ViCPS consists of one 0.5-mL (25-mg) dose administered intramuscularly. One dose of this vaccine should be given ≥2 weeks before expected exposure. The manufacturer does not recommend the vaccine for infants and children aged <2 years.

Vaccine Safety and Adverse Reactions: Adverse reactions to Ty21a vaccine are rare and mainly consist of abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and rash. ViCPS vaccine is most often associated with headache (16%–20%) and injection-site reactions (7%).

*Oral is good for 5 years and IM is good for 2 years.

Twinrex Hep A & B

A vaccine for adults called Twinrix provides protection against both hepatitis A and B. It is given in three doses.

Varicella (chickenpox)

Why get vaccinated? It is not possible to predict who will have a mild case of chickenpox and who will have a serious or even deadly case of disease. Even with uncomplicated cases, children with chickenpox miss an average of 5-6 days of school, and parents or other caregivers miss 3-4 days of work to care for sick children. Compared with children, adults are at increased risk of complications related to chickenpox.

Who should be vaccinated? All healthy children 12 months through 12 years of age should have two doses of chickenpox vaccine, administered at least 3 months apart. Children who have evidence of immunity to varicella do not need the vaccine. People 13 years of age and older who do not have evidence of immunity should get two doses of the vaccine 4 to 8 weeks apart.

Effectiveness: No vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease. For chickenpox vaccine, about 9 out of every 10 people who are vaccinated with two doses are completely protected from chickenpox. In addition the recommended two-dose regimen is virtually 100% effective in preventing severe disease.

Yellow Fever (

Yellow fever vaccine can prevent: yellow fever. Yellow fever vaccine is given only at designated vaccination centers. After getting the vaccine, you should be given a stamped and signed "International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis" (yellow card). This certificate becomes valid 10 days after vaccination and is good for 10 years. You will need this card as proof of vaccination to enter certain countries. Travelers without proof of vaccination could be given the vaccine upon entry or detained for up to 6 days to make sure they are not infected.

Dose: Yellow fever vaccine is a live, weakened virus. It is given as a single shot. For people who remain at risk, a booster dose is recommended every 10 years.

Recommended for: Persons 9 months through 59 years of age traveling to or living in an area where risk of yellow fever is known to exist, or traveling to a country with an entry requirement for the vaccination, Laboratory personnel who might be exposed to yellow fever virus or vaccine virus.

Not recommended for: Anyone with a life-threatening allergy to any component of the vaccine including eggs, chicken protein or gelatin or someone who had a severe reaction to a previous dose. Also infants younger than 6 months of age or if you: have HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system, Your immune system is weakened as a result of cancer or other medical conditions, a transplant, or radiation or drug treatment (such as steroids, cancer chemotherapy, or other drugs that affect immune cell function), Your thymus has been removed or you have a thymus disorder, such as myasthenia gravis, DiGeorge syndrome, or thymoma.

Possible side-effects or risks: A vaccine, like any medicine, could cause a serious reaction. But the risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely low. Mild problems: Yellow fever vaccine has been associated with fever, and with aches, soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given. These problems occur in up to 1 person out of 4. They usually begin soon after the shot, and can last up to a week. Severe problems include severe allergic reaction to a vaccine component (about 1 person in 55,000), Severe nervous system reaction (about 1 person in 125,000), Life-threatening severe illness with organ failure (about 1 person in 250,000). More than half the people who suffer this side effect die.

These last two problems have never been reported after a booster dose.

Zostavax (

Zoster vaccine is used for prevention: of shingles in individuals 60 years of age or older, regardless of previous history of chicken pox or shingles. It is not used for treatment of herpes zoster or postherpetic neuralgia. Zoster vaccine prevents shingles in 51% of individuals 60 years or older. Its effect decreases with age and it is more effective in individuals 60 to 69 years of age.

Doses: Zoster vaccine is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) in the upper arm. The recommended dose is 0.65 ml.

Potential side effects or risks: The most common adverse effects are headaches and injection site itching, swelling, pain, warmth, bleeding, and bruising. Some individuals may experience shingles or chickenpox-like rashes within 42 days after receiving zoster vaccine. Transmission of VZV virus from vaccinated individuals to other individuals occurs rarely.

The information contained within this website is accurate on the date of publication subject to change at any time. ID Care is not responsible for any errors, omissions.

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