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What shots do I need to get before traveling?

For information about which vaccines are required based on a particular itinerary, contact state or local health departments for the most recent recommendations, or check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC recommends the following vaccines for travelers 2 years of age and older. These recommendations should be reviewed with a healthcare provider and used in conjunction with the regional recommendations found on the CDC website.

Primary vaccine series (meaning these normally are given during childhood and should be up to date before the time of travel):
  • measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccine
  • polio vaccine
  • Hemophilus influenzae type b vaccine
  • hepatitis B vaccine
  • chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
In addition, adult travelers may want to consider:
  •  influenza (flu) (recommended for adults age 65 or older or other high-risk individuals)
  • pneumococcal vaccine (recommended for adults age 65 or older or other high-risk individuals)
Booster or additional doses:
  • tetanus and diptheria (recommended every 10 years)
  • polio (recommended for travelers to certain countries; see the CDC website)
  • measles (people born 1957 or later should consider getting a booster)
The following additional vaccines may be recommended:
  • yellow fever vaccine. Even though yellow fever rarely causes illness in travelers, most countries (especially in Africa and South America) have regulations and requirements for yellow fever vaccine that must be met before entering the country.
  • hepatitis B vaccine
  • typhoid vaccine
  • meningococcal vaccine
  • Japanese encephalitis or tick-borne encephalitis vaccine.
Special considerations for pregnant women:
  • Women who are pregnant, or who are likely to become pregnant within 3 months, should not get the MMR or varicella vaccine.
  • Yellow fever or polio vaccines should be given to pregnant women only if there is a substantial risk of exposure. If given during pregnancy, waiting until the second or third trimester minimizes any theoretical concerns over possible birth defects.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.