Before your move abroad, make sure you’re up-to-date when it comes to your immunizations

Immunizations are a vital part of your health, especially when you travel to a new country or if you plan to move there. Illnesses that may not be present in your community now can be prevalent in your new home, and it’s important that you have everything covered before you go.

Before you do anything else, make an appointment with your doctor. Get a general health checkup (if you haven’t had one already this year), and go over your history to check your immunization status. Some things to consider at your visit:

  • Boosters you may need (like the tetanus shot, which is only good for five years)
  • Updating your shots (you may need to make a plan to space them out depending on how many you need)
  • Vaccinations that you might not have yet, but will need in your new country
  • Getting a printout of your shot record to take with you

General immunizations for all adults

Most of us are immunized as children based on the CDC schedule. But sometimes, we miss out on vaccinations, need boosters we may not realize, or perhaps new vaccinations have come out that may not have even been available to us as children. In addition to the flu vaccine, it is recommended that all adults are current on:

  • TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis)
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Hepatitis A/B
  • MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella)
  • Polio

Making sure you’re covered in your relocation

While the above list of immunizations is recommended for everyone, regardless of where, when, or why you’re traveling, if you’re planning a relocation to a more exotic locale, there are other vaccinations to consider as well. Here are just some of the more common destinations and the additional vaccinations you’re going to need to remain healthy in your new country:

  • China: typhoid, *malaria, polio (make sure you have this up-to-date, as in the Xinjiang province you are more likely to come into contact with the disease), Japanese encephalitis, rabies
  • Costa Rica: typhoid, *malaria, rabies
  • Dominican Republic: typhoid, *malaria, rabies
  • Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands): typhoid, *malaria, rabies, yellow fever
  • Ethiopia: polio, typhoid, *malaria, meningococcal, rabies, yellow fever
  • India: typhoid, *malaria, Japanese encephalitis, rabies
  • Mexico: typhoid, *malaria, rabies
  • Panama: typhoid, *malaria, rabies, yellow fever
  • Thailand: typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, *malaria, rabies

*Note that for malaria, it is not a vaccine, rather a prescription medication that you might need to take before, during, and after your trip, depending on where you’ll be living and other travel plans within the country.

You can check with the CDC website to look up your specific destination and ensure that you’ve got everything covered. It’s smart to do so before visiting with your doctor so you know exactly what you should bring up when it comes to getting your vaccinations handled.

Concerning children

If you have small kids moving with you, you’ll need to make extra preparations make extra preparations to ensure that they, too, arrive and thrive, safe and sound, in their new home. Depending on where you’re headed, kids’ vaccines will fall into either recommended or required categories, the latter of which require written proof of immunization to enter the country. While not all vaccines are appropriate for all children (for example, those under one year old or those with compromised immune systems), children traveling abroad will need to be up-to-date on their routine vaccinations, and may need to get any of the following in addition:

  • Typhoid
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Rabies
  • Yellow fever
  • Meningococcal

By following the above guidelines, making sure you’ve visited your doctor, and getting up-to-date on all needed immunizations a good four to six weeks before your trip, you can settle into your new home country a little easier knowing that, at least where your health is concerned, you’ve got it covered.


Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.

Written by Einat Mazafi
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.