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Vaccine Preventable Diseases & Immunizations

Find out more about the diseases you may encounter, and the vaccine information that can help protect you.



  • Influenza, or the "flu," is a very contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus that may change every year and may be different in northern and southern hemispheres9
  • The symptoms may include high fever, coughing, weakness, headache, and general aches and pains, which may last for 5–10 days9
  • Serious complications may include pneumonia and kidney failure and may result in hospitalization
  • Everyone is at risk of catching influenza9
  • If you're 65 years or older, you have two options for your annual flu shot:
    • The traditional flu shot
    • A higher dose flu shot designed specifically for people 65 years and older
    • Medicare Part B covers both of these options


  • Staying away from crowded places will help you avoid direct contact with infected persons
  • Vaccination against influenza is the most effective means for reducing the serious impact of influenza illness10
  • One dose will help protect against those virus strains contained in the current vaccine.9 Contact your children’s pediatrician for their specific vaccine regimen.
  • You can help protect yourself by washing your hands often with soap and water, and avoiding contact with people who are ill.11 Some viruses and bacteria can survive for 2 hours or longer on surfaces or objects that an infected person touches.12

Consult with your travel physician for additional health information.

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  • Vaccination should be considered for all travelers who plan on traveling to the tropics or the Southern Hemisphere during April–September, or who will be part of an organized tourist group, especially if the group includes travelers from areas where influenza viruses are currently circulating
  • Influenza viruses are always changing,13 so vaccination is required annually


Vaccines can help protect you from diseases that are still common in many parts of the world. Make certain you contact your health care provider and determine which vaccines you should receive before you travel.


Diseases to Guard Against

When you’ve added your destinations, it is recommended that you take this list to your doctor so you can discuss relevant vaccinations before you travel.

Travel vaccines help protect you from illnesses present in other parts of the world, and help prevent the importation of infectious diseases across international borders. Which vaccinations you need depends on a number of factors, including your age, health status, and previous immunizations.


There are combination vaccines that help protect against multiple diseases that may reduce the number of shots you need.


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