Regular vaccines recommended by the Canadian Public Health Agency for Canadian residents are available (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Meningococcus, Pneumococcus, Influenza, Varicella, Hepatitis B, Human Papilloma Virus, Shingles)
Hepatitis A and B vaccines
For prevention of hepatitis A or hepatitis B infections. Most Canadians are not naturally immune to these infections. Hepatitis A virus is often present in untreated water or in uncooked food in tropical countries. Vaccination for Hepatitis A is a series of 2 injections at least 6 months apart. Hepatitis B is the human hepatitis virus transmitted through contact with blood or body secretions of chronic carriers of the virus. Vaccination for Hepatitis B is a series of injections over at least 6 months. Twinrix is a combined Hepatitis A/B vaccine and is a series of injections over at least 6 months.
Typhoid Fever vaccines
Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi, the most severe type of salmonella infection. This may be transmitted in food prepared by food handlers who carry the bacteria in their stools. Both injectable and oral vaccines are available.
Meningococcal meningitis is a severe and occasionally fatal infection of the brain. This condition is hyper-endemic in sub-Saharan Africa (the meningitis belt). The vaccine is required for people travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah. Healthy people may carry the bacteria in their throats and transmit infection to non-immune travellers. There are vaccines against 5 different strains.
Japanese Encephalitis vaccine
Japanese encephalitis virus is similar to the West Nile virus, but often more virulent. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes infection of the brain. The mortality rate is high and many survivors have permanent brain injury. Sporadic cases are rare in tourist travellers. Those planning more prolonged visits to South East Asia (from Japan to India ) are candidates for the 2 doses of vaccine, which should be started at least 10 days before departure.
Dogs and cats in underdeveloped and tropical countries are often stray and not immunized against rabies. Travellers bitten by animals in those parts of the world are advised to immediately clean the wound and seek rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin, or return home for immunization. Rabies is universally fatal and can only be prevented by vaccination. Travellers to remote areas in underdeveloped or tropical countries should consider pre-exposure immunization with 3 doses of vaccine started at least a month before departure.
Yellow Fever vaccine
This is the only vaccine required for entry to certain countries. The Yellow Fever Vaccine program is regulated by the World Health Organization. In Canada this vaccine is only available through Public Health Agency of Canada designated Yellow Fever Centres for quality assurance purposes. A special Yellow Fever Immunization certificate is provided.
This vaccine is now rarely used since the World Health Organization lifted mandatory immunization more than a decade ago. The vaccine is not used for tourist travel, but may be indicated for those who plan to work with relief agencies or organizations in the few remaining endemic countries. An oral vaccine is available.
Malaria is endemic in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In most countries malaria is endemic in some regions but not everywhere. Hence it is important you know the exact location of each country you plan to visit.
Contrary to widespread belief no malaria vaccine exists. Malaria is prevented by mosquito avoidance and in some instances using medication. The choice of medication depends on the region you will be travelling and your health status.
Mosquito avoidance: The mosquitoes which carry malaria are mainly nocturnal and appear at dusk. If remaining outdoors, travellers should apply insect repellent with DEET. In Canada a maximum of 30% DEET may be sold due to health concerns with higher concentrations. All concentrations of DEET are effective. The lower concentrations last for shorter durations. Travellers should sleep under mosquito netting, preferably treated with insecticide, unless they are staying in modern buildings with air conditioning and closed windows and doors.
Malaria prophylaxis: If you will be visiting a malaria region, you may be prescribed a medication you take to prevent malaria in case you are exposed. Chloroquine phosphate is usually prescribed for visitors to the few regions in the world where this medication is still effective (Central America and the Middle East ). Doxycycline, atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™), or mefloquine (Lariam™) is prescribed for choloroquine resistant areas of the world. For information on these drugs you can visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All malaria medications are in-stock at Medical Pharmacy located within the London Travel Clinic.