International travel, particularly to the areas that volunteer work abroad tends to take place carries a certain health risk. In order to minimise this risk, it is important to visit a travel healthcare specialist 4-6 weeks before your trip in order to give the vaccinations adequate time to become effective and also because some vaccinations require multiple doses. In this article we will give you general information about what vaccination to get for volunteering abroad. However, more detailed and specific information can be found here as vaccination requirements will vary greatly based on various factors:

Do I really need vaccinations?

Getting your vaccinations when volunteering abroad is extremely important and must be taken seriously, especially for those who are going to be volunteering in developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa where you face a significant risk of exposure to illnesses such as typhoid, yellow fever, polio and measles.

Some of these illnesses are commonly vaccinated against as standard in many countries so find out what your vaccination history is. Travelling unvaccinated in some countries also affects your ability to travel in other countries as you are then considered a contamination risk, therefore it is important to get all recommended vaccinations for the country where you will be carrying out your volunteer work.

What vaccination do I need for volunteering abroad ?

The vaccinations you will need for volunteering abroad depends entirely on the country/countries you will be travelling to. As a minimum you should be up-to-date on your routine vaccinations such as TD (tetanus/diphtheria), MMR (measles/mumps/rubella), meningitis and Hepatitis A/B.

Depending on your circumstances you may also need to be vaccinated against typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, rabies and polio

Please visit the website of the CDC to see what specific vaccinations you will need depending on destination:

The vaccinations you will require also depends on your health status so please make an appointment with a doctor and they can let you know what you need.

How much does it cost?

The cost of vaccination varies according to many factors such as type of vaccine, your health insurance and even where you receive the vaccination.

The approximate fees if the vaccination is not covered by your insurance are as follows:

  • initial consultation fee - $15-100
  • shot administration fee - $10-20 per shot
  • Cost of vaccine - $10-150

Please remember that some vaccinations may require multiple vaccinations which will be charged separately. Check out the Health Cost Helper website for more details regarding medical costs in the USA.

Passport , Health is the nation largest provider of travel medicine services with travel clinics throughout the United States. It offers travel consultations, travel vaccines, it has more than 250 clinics nationwide so contact them for specific questions regarding price.

How far in advance do I need to take vaccination?

You should aim to visit your travel health professional at least 6 weeks prior to travel to allow you enough time to get all of the necessary vaccinations and doses. Some vaccinations require multiple doses and in general your vaccinations will need to be administered over multiple visits.