Do I Need Immunisations?

2015-04-19 15.18.13

Jungles. A great place to catch something! This taken around Bukit Lawang, Indonesia by Steve Collier. Copyright, 2015.

This is an important post. Although there are people right now who believe immunisations are a government conspiracy to control the population and make huge sums of money we absolutely believe that the modern world would be a far more horrific place to exist if it weren’t for research and development in to vaccines and treatments.

There are countless diseases and afflictions in the world and depending on where you travel you may well be exposed to them. Some diseases like Japanese Encephalitis are incurable and if you’re not immunised and are one of the rare few to contract it (via mosquito bites), you’ll most likely die from swelling around the brain amongst other symptoms.

Diseases like Polio have been eradicated or mostly eradicated in most countries around the world and it was only in the twentieth century that thousands of people were dying from it even in “developed” countries. Polio is spread in areas affected with poor sanitation and as a kid you were most likely given a vaccine. You may need a booster. Best to check. It’s one example of many.

We’re not going to suffocate you with information as there are sources on the internet where you can find all the travel related information you need.

Here are the two main sources we use.

In the UK, the NHS website is has a section dedicated to travel vaccinations which is a great source of information.

You can also check out the travel vaccine page at the Centre for Disease Control (or CDC) whose mission is to understand and eradicate disease.

It’s worth noting that some courses of tablets or even injections can be a lot cheaper in other countries. For instance, you can research the preventative medicine you need and then when you arrive at your destination, hunt it down in a pharmacy or hospital. Countries like Thailand have great healthcare systems. The aforementioned Japanese Encephalitis vaccine is one of the most expensive here in the UK. In Thailand or other countries, it can be a lot cheaper.

Remember that health and safety standards are not equal around the world. Blood poisoning from scratches, Malaria, Flu, Dengue Fever, and many other illnesses and infections exist and it’s not that difficult to catch and spread them.

Some precautions we took while travelling included keeping a small tube of anti-bacterial hand sanitiser in our bags, taking loo roll everywhere (just in case!), washing our hands, checking water and food quality, being aware of mosquito hotspots and carrying bug spray, checking recommendations online and just using common sense and information to avoid the risk as much as possible.


Sleeping outside in the jungle. Bitten by something. Never found out what but a dead spider on the ground by the bed seemed a legitimate culprit! Bukit Lawang, Indonesia. Photo taken by Nicola Attridge. Copyright, 2015.

Obviously, plan where you’re going and what you need. Sometimes it’s best to get the shot before you go. Also, make sure you get a piece of official documentation stating which vaccinations you’ve received as some countries require this to enter. Your GP/ Doctor should tell you all about this.

In short, never take unnecessary risks. If you’re advised to have a certain injection or a course of tablets (Malaria is huge must in certain areas), do it. It’s not worth being the victim of a preventable affliction with long term effects or death.

Of course, at some point you’ll most likely get food poisoning which unfortunately is a traveller’s right of passage in some parts of the world no matter how careful you are!

Let us know if you have any advise or opinions on the matter below in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Until next time, happy (and safe) travels!

*This post does contain some affiliate links which simply means links to stuff we genuinely like and own/use. You don’t pay any more but if you use the links above it helps us with a tiny % kickback for the recommendation. We have not received any money to recommend anything on this post.


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