Travelling abroad and vaccinations
If you normally live in Ireland and are travelling abroad, you should check whether you need vaccinations to travel to the country or countries you plan to visit. Vaccines should be considered if you are travelling to areas outside of Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Health risks vary from country to country, so seek advice from your family doctor (GP), Health Service Executive (HSE), travel health clinic or travel agent in advance of travel.
You can get travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on the country that you plan to visit. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also provides some information.
When should I start thinking about the vaccines I need?
Start the process of vaccination well before you plan to travel. Some vaccinations take time to become effective so give yourself at least 8 weeks to protect yourself fully. An early start to the process is particularly important if you plan to travel with children. The BCG vaccination against tuberculosis (TB), for example, should be given at least 3 months before your child travels.
Certain vaccinations are compulsory. In these cases, you will need to show an International Certificate of Vaccination (record of your vaccines) to gain access to the country in question.
Other vaccinations are recommended, and the decision is left to your own discretion, however, it makes sense to do everything you can to guard against illness and disease while you are away.
You will not need vaccinations to visit any European country, unless you have visited a non-European country shortly beforehand.
International Certificate of Vaccination
This is a record of compulsory vaccines, and it is a yellow card. This is needed when you are travelling to some countries. Make sure to check before you travel. You should get this card when you are getting vaccinated. Make sure that you record your vaccinations on an International Vaccination Certificate.
Cost of vaccines for travel
Travel vaccinations are not free in Ireland through the public health system - even if you hold a medical card. You will have to pay the full cost of vaccinations. A charge will usually be made for your visit to the doctor and in addition, you will have to pay for each vaccine or set of tablets prescribed.
When you return
If you feel ill following your return to Ireland, make sure that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Give full details of the countries you visited; in case this should be relevant.
Notifiable infectious diseases
The law in Ireland makes special provisions regarding the reporting of infectious diseases to the national Health Protection Surveillance Centre. As soon as a medical practitioner in Ireland becomes aware of, or suspects that a person they are attending is suffering from, or is the carrier of an infectious disease, they are required to transmit a written or electronic notification to a Medical Officer of Health.
Notification of infectious diseases is necessary to control infectious diseases. Ireland's Health Protection Surveillance Centre works in partnership with health service providers and organisations in other countries to ensure that up-to-date information is available to contribute to the effective control of infectious diseases.
You can get more information from the HSE website or contact your GP or travel health clinic.