Need a Travel Vaccine? Talk to Your Pharmacist

Effective December 15, 2016, travellers will be able to get travel vaccines at their local pharmacy.

In time for the upcoming winter travel season, the province of Ontario has announced that pharmacists will be able to administer a wider range of vaccines, starting December 15, 2016. The additional vaccines, 13 in total, include many of the common travel vaccines sought by Canadians who plan to travel abroad.

In addition to the flu shot, you’ll be able to visit a pharmacy to get vaccinated against :

  1. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG)
  2. Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)
  3. Hepatitis A
  4. Hepatitis B
  5. Herpes Zoster (Shingles)
  6. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  7. Japanese Encephalitis
  8. Meningococcal disease
  9. Pneumococcal disease
  10. Rabies
  11. Typhoid
  12. Varicella
  13. Yellow Fever

Common Travel Vaccines

Depending on where you plan to travel, the Government of Canada may recommend getting vaccinated for certain preventable diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Rabies. However, unlike the flu shot, many of the vaccinations in the announcement are not free. As a result, the Ontario Pharmacists Association encourages Ontarians to talk with their pharmacist about which vaccines will be available, and what costs may be associated.

"Patients will need to pay for both the product and its administration – whether they are vaccinated at the pharmacy or at a doctor's office or clinic," explained Sean Simpson, Chair of the Board for the Ontario Pharmacists Association.

Fortunately, many travel vaccines last for years.

Know Before You Go

If you’re planning a winter getaway, make sure you’re protected:

  • Consult the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories for your destination. The Health section lists the vaccines you should consider getting before leaving.
  • If you need to get vaccinated, talk to a health care provider at least six weeks before you travel.
  • Carry copies of your immunization records with you while you travel.

While You’re Away

Vaccinations are just one way to safeguard your health when away on holiday, but there are other preventative measures you can take once you land at your destination:

  • Wash your hands, often. One of the best ways to minimize the chances of falling ill is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Use a liberal amount of insect repellant. Many diseases, like malaria and the Zika virus, are known to spread through infected mosquitoes.
  • Be cautious of what you eat. The Government of Canada encourages travellers to adhere to the saying: "Boil it, cook it, peel it or leave it!"
  • Follow local travel laws and signals whether you’re walking or driving. Traffic accidents are the most common cause of death and injury among travellers under the age of 50. Familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws and customs, don’t drive under the influence and don’t get in a vehicle where the driver may appear impaired.

Protect your holiday with travel insurance.

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