If you have a trip planned to a country that requires certain vaccinations, you may be wondering how long a travel vaccine will remain effective. The answer: it varies.
There’s no specific timeline for travel vaccines in general. Each vaccine is different, which means they will all remain effective for a different amount of time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend receiving any travel vaccine you need a month in advance. This will allow time for your vaccine to become effective. But once it’s effective, how long will it last?
Here are some common travel vaccines and the amount of time they remain effective:
While not common in the U.S., yellow fever can still be found in certain parts of the world. If you need a yellow fever vaccine, it’s important to know that it provides lifelong protection in most cases. This means the majority of people will never need to receive a booster vaccination for the disease.
Unlike the yellow fever vaccine, the tetanus vaccine doesn’t provide lifelong protection. Instead, it remains effective for about 10 years. Once 10 years have passed, it’s recommended that a person receives a booster shot, especially if they are a frequent traveler to parts of the world where the disease is prevalent.
Most people don’t need to receive a cholera vaccine unless they are visiting remote places of the world where there won’t be medical care available. But if that is the case for you, a vaccine is available and it lasts up to two years. If you plan on revisiting a remote area, then it would be wise to receive a booster.
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
Luckily, the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccination is routine for young children to receive in the U.S. If you received your MMR vaccine as a child, you’re typically set for life. If you were never vaccinated against MMR, you can still get the vaccine, which requires two doses. Once you receive both doses, the vaccination will provide lifelong immunity.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
The pertussis vaccination helps to protect young children from coming down with the whooping cough. While this isn’t a lifelong vaccine, it is extremely effective when you first receive it. Its effectiveness will decrease over time, but it will still protect against the disease. The vaccine gives the best protection during the first two years.
Typically the polio vaccine is given to young children, with a booster around the age of 4. In most cases, it can protect a person for life, but this isn’t always the situation. Some people are more at risk for polio than others. If you’re at risk of polio and are traveling to a region where the disease is prominent, it’s recommended that you receive a booster. Boosters can last about 10 years, at which point you can receive another booster if needed.If you choose to receive the vaccine you need a month before your trip is set to start, you should be fully protected throughout your entire trip. Most vaccines will remain effective enough for your entire vacation abroad, which means you should have nothing to worry about.
Planning a trip? Ensure your vaccinations are up-to-date with Passport Health. Call or book online to schedule your appointment today.
Written for Passport Health by Elle Johnson. Elle is a freelance journalist and social media content creator in Florida. Not only does she enjoy working as a freelancer, but in her free time she enjoys working on fictional stories.