To protect yourself from infectious diseases when traveling abroad to "exotic" countries, travel vaccinations are medically useful and necessary. Since in many countries certain vaccinations can only be recommended or are mandatory (control!), it is urgently necessary to inform yourself in advance.
Whether and which vaccination is useful also depends on the destination and the type of travel. A more comprehensive vaccination protection is more necessary for individual adventure trips to risk areas or for trips to rural areas off the tourist routes than for a package vacation on the beach or in the city.
Travel medical advice
Before starting a trip abroad, a personal medical consultation with a specialized doctor or travel physician is recommended to find out which travel vaccinations you really need. The destination, time and type of trip are taken into account, as well as any existing illnesses and the current vaccination status according to the vaccination certificate. This usually contains the standard vaccinations already received (tetanus, polio, diphtheria, etc.) as well as further information on upcoming boosters.
Always carry your vaccination certificate with you when traveling - as proof and also for emergencies.
How long before the trip to get vaccinated?
Since the immune system needs some time for the vaccination protection to fully develop, it is advisable to schedule the consultation four to six weeks before travel. Consultation and vaccination is also recommended for trips planned at short notice.
There is a whole range of important travel vaccinations for abroad. For certain countries there is even a vaccination obligation. Without the corresponding compulsory vaccinations, you cannot enter the country or you can be refused permission to leave. The respective vaccination regulations are given by the health authorities of the individual countries, according to the recommendation of the WHO.
When traveling to all non-European countries, Africa, Asia, etc., not only a travel vaccination but also the conclusion of a travel health insurance is absolutely recommended. Without additional foreign health insurance you have no insurance coverage in case of illness in these countries.
The costs for a travel vaccination sometimes differ considerably, as there can be different vaccines for the same vaccination. Vaccine costs start at about 30 euros for a rabies vaccination, yellow fever from about 60 euros and up to 80 euros for hepatitis A and B. A meningococcal vaccination costs about 100 euros.
In addition, for all vaccinations there are further costs for the administration of the vaccines by a doctor or health authority. For yellow fever vaccinations you have to visit a special yellow fever vaccination center, such as health office, tropical institute or experienced tropical doctor. The vaccination is then entered in the yellow vaccination certificate, signed by a doctor and officially certified.
For private (vacation) trips abroad, as a legally insured person you bear the costs for vaccinations yourself. However, many health insurance companies have now included preventive vaccinations for trips abroad in their list of benefits. It is best to ask your health insurance company about this before you travel. For business trips abroad, the employer generally bears the corresponding costs.
Travel vaccination benefits:
The Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) and the Tropical Institute provide information and recommendations on travel vaccinations. The German Foreign Office provides travel and safety information on its website, as does the World Health Organization (WHO).