Whether it’s a weekend holiday to Thailand, a volunteer mission to Cambodia, or a business trip up to Hong Kong or Taiwan, we Singaporeans are constantly travelling. Yet everyone has heard their share of travel illness stories. Your trip overseas could be ruined just by a simple bite from an infected mosquito, or by eating contaminated food from a roadside stall.
It doesn’t make sense to spend so much time and money on planning the trip and then compromise on a few dollars by avoiding vaccinations. Save yourself the trouble and heartache of scrapping your travel plans by getting vaccinated.
Regardless of where in the world you’re planning to visit, it’s a good idea to get the following shots:
|Vaccine for||Travel regions||Cost|
|Tetanus||Anywhere, esp. remote areas with little medical infrastructure||Up to $25|
|Typhoid||Rural or developing areas, esp. South America, South Asia, South-East Asia||$25|
|Yellow Fever||Sub-Saharan Africa, South America||$164|
This highly infectious liver disease is a risk especially in developing countries. It is spread via contaminated food and drink but also via close contact with infected people. The vaccine is nearly 100% effective, and lasts for decades, so even if you’re not planning to travel anytime soon, it doesn’t hurt to get the shot.
How much does it cost? Hepatitis A vaccination costs about $78 at polyclinics, and you will get two shots, 6 months apart.
If you thought Hep A sounds bad, its symptoms are like an ant bite compared to Hep B. Those infected with Hep B may take several months to recover from the symptoms. Among some people, Hep B can lead to liver disease and liver cancer. In fact, Hep B is such a big deal that in Singapore, we receive the vaccine soon after we’re born. The vaccine is said to be effective for about 5 years though, so do get yourself vaccinated before you travel.
How much does it cost? Hepatitis B vaccination costs about $28 at polyclinics, and you will get three shots over the course of 6 months.
If you’re interested… There’s also a combined Hepatitis A & B vaccine which might be cheaper than getting them separately so do consult your doctor if you prefer that instead.
This disease manifests itself as serious muscle spasms and breathing difficulties. This is another vaccination we Singaporeans would have gotten as babies, but if it’s been over 10 years since your last one, you probably should get another shot. It’s especially important if you’re planning to trek outdoors or are planning to be in a remote area where medical help is not immediately available.
How much does it cost? Tetanus vaccination costs up to $25 at polyclinics.
Better known as the flu, this disease needs no introduction. Vaccination is only valid for the year, because the virus keeps evolving. Scientists have to make an educated guess each year what the most “popular” strains of the disease need to be prevented. So even though it’s not 100% prevention, it’s a good idea to be vaccinated, no matter where you’re travelling to.
How much does it cost? Influenza vaccination costs $25 at polyclinics.
This life-threatening disease is transmitted by bacteria, usually as a result of contaminated food and water. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pains and nausea. So if you’re planning to visit rural or developing areas, especially in South America or South and South-East Asia where there is poor sanitation, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated. The typhoid vaccine is valid for 3 years.
How much does it cost? Typhoid vaccination costs about $25 at polyclinics.
This vaccination is required if you’re travelling to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South America. You will need to carry proof of your vaccination with you when you go. Yellow Fever is a viral illness spread by infected mosquitoes. The vaccine is valid for about 10 years.
How much does it cost? Yellow Fever vaccination costs $164 at the Travel Clinic in hospitals.
Other Important Things to Note
Don’t wait till the last minute to get these vaccinations. Some, like the Hepatitis vaccinations, take up to 6 months. As we said earlier, it might be a good idea to just get some of these vaccinations before you even plan your travel, since most last more than a year.
Also, do take note that some vaccinations, like Hepatitis B, can be paid using Medisave.
Do you have any other lobang to share about travel vaccinations? Let us know in the comments.