Get These Travel Vaccinations Before You Jet off on the Next Family Holiday!

Get These Travel Vaccinations Before You Jet off on the Next Family Holiday!

While most families in Singapore enjoy travelling all year round, the school holiday period in June and Nov/Dec are when most trips are planned for.

As you make the necessary preparations for your family holiday, be sure to slot in an appointment for everyone in the family to get their travel vaccinations as well. The last thing you’d want to deal with during your trip is to have either you, your spouse or children fall ill from simple things like a mosquito bite or consuming contaminated food – all of which could have been avoided by getting vaccinated.

Here are some common travel vaccinations you should consider before your trip:

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is prevalent in developing countries. It is usually spread when a person ingests faecal matter through objects, food or drinks contaminated by the faeces of an infected person. The vaccine is near to 100% effective in protecting you against the disease, and can last for decades.

The Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for healthy international travellers aged 12 months or older and is given in 3 doses over a course of 6 months. Seniors and persons with chronic medical conditions such as liver disease may be given a shot called immune globulin (IG) as well if they are travelling within 2 weeks.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person. Those infected with the virus may take several months to recover from the symptoms. Many people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection do not know they are infected as they do not feel or look sick – but they can still spread the virus to others and are at risk of serious health problems themselves.

The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in 3 to 4 doses over a period of 6 months, and is said to be effective for about 5 years. In Singapore, babies will be given the hepatitis B shot soon after birth, with follow-up doses in the subsequent months.


Also known as the common flu, it is recommended to get the flu vaccine annually, even if you do not have travel plans. This is due to the fact that flu viruses are constantly changing and the body’s immune response to vaccination declines over time. Thus, an annual vaccine is your best defense against the virus.

The best time to get the flu vaccine is by October, as this helps to protect you before the flu season begins. Flu season usually peaks between December and February, but this can last until late May. With this in mind, it is wise to get vaccinated early – especially if you have travel plans


Spending time outdoors during your trip can up the chances of getting cuts that may become infected with bacteria found in soil, including ones that cause tetanus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection that produce a toxin which causes painful muscle contractions. Tetanus is also called “lockjaw” as it often causes a person’s neck and jaw muscles to lock, making it hard to open the mouth or swallow. It can also lead to complications such as breathing problems, severe muscle spasms, seizures and paralysis. If left untreated, tetanus can be fatal.

There are 4 combination vaccines used to prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough): DTaP, Tdap, DT and Td. DTaP and DT are given to children below 7, while Tdap and Td are given to older children and adults. Do check with your doctor if you or your children require the tetanus shots before your trip, especially if you are planning to be in a remote area where medical help may not be accessible.


Typhoid is a life-threatening disease that is caused by the Salmonella Typhi bacteria. It usually occurs as a result of contaminated food and water. Symptoms of typhoid include high fever, weakness, stomach pains, headache, loss of appetite and a rash. So, if your holiday travels include visiting rural or developing areas in countries such as South America or Southeast Asia where sanitation is less than ideal, it is highly recommended to get vaccinated.

There are 2 vaccines to prevent typhoid: an inactivated (killed) vaccine which is given as a shot, and a live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine which is given orally. The last dose of the typhoid vaccine should be given at least 2 weeks before the travel date to give time for the vaccine to work

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a serious disease that is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be spread directly from one person to another. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, flu, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), vomiting blood, and organ failure involving the liver, kidney and respiratory system.

The yellow fever vaccine is required for travels to countries in the sub-Saharan Africa and South America. After receiving the vaccine, you will receive an International Certificate of Vaccination (yellow card) that has been validated by the vaccination centre. This certificate is valid for 10 days after vaccination, while the vaccine lasts for up to 10 years.


An Important Reminder

Do schedule the required travel vaccinations early, as some vaccines such as the Hepatitis A and B take up to 6 months. It might even be a wise to get some of these vaccinations before making travel plans, since most of them can last for more than a year.

Consult your doctor for the various travel vaccination or book your travel vaccination today at MindChamps Medical Clinic.


Reviewed by Dr Herbert Tan, Family Physician and Resident Doctor of MindChamps Medical @ West Coast.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Be The Champion Of Your Family's Health

Subscribe to our Health Hub

Join Our Mailing List