We have put together the following concise guide for your quick reference, including a list of required vaccinations for living and travelling in China.
In 2011 the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory pointing out that that year the United States experienced the highest number of measles cases since 1996, many of which were acquired overseas. Of 156 confirmed cases of measles reported to the center that year: 136 of them involved unvaccinated Americans who had recently traveled abroad, unvaccinated visitors to the United States and people who didn’t travel but may have caught the disease from those who did.
As a general rule, travellers should be up-to-date on routine immunizations “no matter where they are going and what they are doing”. Routine immunisations include MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), a tetanus booster every 10 years and the influenza vaccine during ‘flu season each year.
When updating your immunisations and travel vaccinations, a good travel clinic will go through your entire itinerary carefully, and consider everything from the regions you will be visiting (urban versus rural), your travel style (backpacking versus luxury hotel) and the time of year (which can influence exposure to mosquitoes, which spread malaria and dengue) to determine if the recommended vaccines or prevention measures are really necessary for your vacation.
What vaccinations are required in China?
According to the US CDC, in addition to routine immunizations for children and adults the following vaccinations are strongly recommended if travelling or living abroad in China:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
Travel vaccines can be expensive but most international medical insurance plans will cover them in full or up to a limit of around USD500. The Travel Clinic of New York City charges USD90 for hepatitis A and USD95 for a typhoid shot. That’s in addition to a USD80 consultation fee. As long as you aren’t paying for unnecessary immunizations, the shots are worth it. So says Dr. Freedman of the International Society of Travel Medicine: “Vaccines are your insurance policy.”
Please see below for a list of travel clinics in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.