First off, I am not a doctor but thought it might be helpful to share some info on the types of travel vaccines I got for India. Each person is different and you should always speak to your doctor about recommended travel vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has really good info on types of vaccines for different travel destinations. But again, you should consult a qualified medical professional at least 4-6 weeks before your travel date. I have a great Travel Doctor here in Toronto who I always consult before traveling.
The cost of vaccines can easily add up so check with your insurance policy before deciding on generic or brand name drugs. Once, I filled a prescription for the brand name, Malarone only to find that my plan only covers the generic brand. Luckily, my policy covered all of my vaccines and pills for India as it added up to a few hundred dollars.
As well, make sure your medical records are up to date especially if you do a lot of international travel. I got a Travel Immunization Record booklet from my Travel Doc to keep track of all my vaccines.
The combination of vaccines I got for India was similar, if not the same, to my vaccines for Kenya. Here is a list of travel vaccines I was advised to get:
You should be up to date on all routine vaccines such as MMR, Tetanus, HPV, Polio, Flu Shot, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, etc.
Recommend Travel Vaccines for India
CDC recommends this vaccine because hepatitis A can be easily transmitted through contaminated food or water in India, even if you eat and stay in luxury hotels.
CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you plan on eating street foods. Typhoid can be transmitted through contaminated food or water in India. The typhoid vaccine can be taken orally or as a needle.
Recommended Travel Vaccines For Some Travelers
Your doctor may prescribe the following vaccines based on where you are going, and how long you will be staying:
Hepatitis B is transmitted through contaminated needles, and bodily fluids of an infected person. Both Hep A and B are constantly present in developing countries, including parts of the Caribbean. I took the Twinrix vaccine that protects against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B, which is administered over three doses.
Cholera is a risk in certain parts of India and CDC recommends this vaccine for those traveling to an area of active cholera transmission. You can avoid the potential of contracting cholera by avoiding unsafe food and water. I’ve taken the cholera oral vaccine and the booster in the form of Dukorol for my trips to India, Kenya, Thailand and China, which gives you up to 3 months of cholera protection.
There is no risk of yellow fever in India, but the government of India requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (this doesn’t include Canada or the US). But since I had the Yellow Fever vaccine for Kenya, it will last me a good 10 years.
Malaria can be present in all areas of India, including large city centers of Delhi and Mumbai. The relative risk of malaria for Canadian and American travelers remain moderate. You can take measures to prevent malaria while traveling including taking prescription medication. However, the medication requires full commitment as you need to take the pills before, during, and after your trip. For many, there are a slew of side effects including fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhoea, and vomiting. When I traveled to Kenya, many travelers in my group had nightmares as a side effect!
For India, I decided to take anti-malaria Malarone pills because part of our trip was to the Ganges River at sunrise and sunset – when mosquitoes are the most active. But the medication became too cumbersome and the nausea became so unbearable that I stopped taking the Malarone mid-trip. It probably wasn’t the best idea to stop the meds mid-course, but oh well!
Vaccines I didn’t get
CDC recommends the rabies vaccine for travelers involved in outdoor activities and those who will be working directly with animals, putting them at risk for animal bites.
This virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. CDC recommends this vaccine if your trip will last more than a month, depending on where you are going in India and the time of year you are traveling.
If your doctor prescribed anti-malarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home.
Prepare in advance for your trip and consult a doctor for advice on travel vaccines for India.