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Immunization and travel

Learn about vaccines that may be recommended when you travel.

Planning ahead

It is best to contact a private travel clinic, your doctor, or your pharmacist at least 6 weeks before you travel.

The vaccines recommended for you will depend on your age, health, your immunization history, where and when you are travelling, and how long you are travelling for.

Your age and health

Young children who are travelling may need to get their routine immunizations sooner than normally scheduled.

If you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions, such as immune system problems, you may need more or different vaccines than what are generally recommended.

Where you travel

When you travel to countries with incomes similar to Canada’s—such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and countries in western and northern Europe—you have the same risk of getting a disease that vaccines can prevent as you do in Canada.

You may have a much higher risk of contact with other serious diseases in low-income countries—such as countries in most parts of Africa and Asia and many parts of South and Central America. This is especially true for areas with poor water quality and food-handling regulations.

Certain activities can put you at higher risk of contact with diseases that vaccines can prevent. These include:

  • exploring rural areas or those off the usual tourist route
  • taking backpacking trips
  • staying in homes of friends or relatives

You may need certain travel vaccines if the area you’re visiting has had any recent disease outbreaks.

Travel vaccines

If you are travelling outside of Canada, some vaccines may be recommended for you:

To find out what vaccines or medicines you need for travel and when you need them:

  • Contact a private travel health clinic, your doctor, or your pharmacist.
  • See the Government of Canada’s information on travel vaccines.

Most vaccines given for travel are not free. If you want a vaccine and need to pay for it, you can check with your health insurance company to see if it covers the cost.

Contact your local public health or community health centre to find out if you need any routine immunizations.

Current as of: June 30, 2023
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
Our work takes place on historical and contemporary Indigenous lands, including the territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 7 & Treaty 8 and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta and 8 Métis Settlements. We also acknowledge the many Indigenous communities that have been forged in urban centres across Alberta.