Travelling abroad and vaccinations


Before you go

If you normally live in Ireland and are travelling abroad, you should check whether you require vaccinations in order to travel to the country or countries you intend 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) or travel agent in advance of travel.

The World Health Organisation Country List provides some information.

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.

The HSE has information on the different types of vaccines, such as for cholera or for tuberculosis, on its website.

Certain vaccinations are compulsory. In these cases, you will need to show an International Certificate of Vaccination in order 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.

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 provision 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 in order 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.

Compulsory vaccinations

You will not need vaccinations in order to visit any European country, unless you have visited a non-European country shortly beforehand.

Make sure that you record your vaccinations on an International Vaccination Certificate.


Health risks vary from country to country so seek advice from your family doctor, HSE or travel agent in advance.


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 for 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.

Page edited: 13 January 2015