Travel Vaccines and advice for the Caribbean


Travel Vaccines and advice for the Caribbean

If you are an international traveler, you are probably familiar with the value of vaccines. The idea behind vaccination is to provide sufficient acquired immunity against several infectious diseases, so that you can enjoy the white sandy beaches, the serenity of marine life and Caribbean culture. 

The pre-travel consultation is a key element in assessing potential health risks and providing education on anticipated travel risks and the immunizations and medications needed to reduce those risks. Traveling to new destinations always comes with some degree of risk, but with a little planning and preparation, those risks can be minimized. 

The World Health Organization recommends that travelers should have a pre-travel health consultation at least 4-6 weeks before departure. However, last-minute travelers can also get a medical consultation even up to the day before they depart.

What are the chances I contract a disease in the Caribbean?

The chances of contracting the disease are estimated to be 3–20 cases per 1000 persons per month of stay, depending on the destination and living conditions while abroad. 

Studies show that 22% to 64% travelers will experience health problems that were not resolved by the conclusion of the trip. This risk is highest for those who visit rural and semi-rural areas. Additionally, it’s essential to carry a comprehensive medical kit. This is especially true for developing countries, where the local availability of specific medications may be uncertain. 

Traveling by air or by sea can have a number of impacts on your health. The most obvious is the change in altitude or pressure, which can cause discomfort, ear pain, and in some cases, nausea and vomiting. The findings indicate that an average of 1 passenger in 4500 will suffer from venous thromboembolism after a long-haul flight.

No doubt that the Caribbean is what tropical dreams are made of! It offers a fantastic travel destination for holidaymakers and vacationers. Thus, necessitating vaccination as you will be in contact with so many different people from all walks of life. 

Do I need vaccines to travel to the Caribbean Islands?

Coming down with an infectious disease can ruin your travel experience. Interestingly, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) recommend that travelers get vaccinated before traveling to curb the spread of infectious diseases. 

Swift Clinics located in the GTA, Ottawa, Kingston and London, actively provides vaccination for travelers going to the Caribbean Islands. 

We have travel vaccines for people visiting the following places:

  • Mexico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • The Bahamas
  • Saint Lucia
  • Antigua, and 
  • Barbados
  • Cuba
  • St Kitts
  • Trinidad 
  • Guyana
  • Cayman Islands
  • Turks & Caicos
  • St Vincent & The Grenadines
  • Aruba
  • St Martin – St. Maarten
  • Saint Barts

In line with the CDC and WHO travel recommendations, you may require essential travel vaccines against the following infectious diseases:

  • COVID-19, transmitted by droplets and small airborne particles, is recommended for all unvaccinated individuals. Booster shots are also recommended for those who qualify for them.
  • Hepatitis A, a food and waterborne disease, is recommended for visiting most regions.
  • Hepatitis B, spread by contaminated or infected body fluids, is recommended for visiting most regions.
  • Typhoid, spread through contaminated food and water, is recommended for visiting most regions. 
  • Cholera and ETEC bacteria are food and waterborne infections and may be recommended for many travel destinations.  
  • Yellow Fever is transmitted by mosquito bites and is recommended for visiting specific locations and may be required for others. 
  • Rabies, transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, may be recommended for those going on longer trips or who might be in contact with animals.

In addition, the following routine vaccinations are recommended for protection against the following diseases:

  • Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) are spread through contact with infected individuals and require a one-time booster for adults. They are also recommended for unvaccinated people or those born after 1970 (Canada date).
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) are airborne (Diphtheria and Pertussis) or found in the soil (tetanus) and may be acquired through an injury or an open wound. Tetanus and Diphtheria are updated every 10 years. Adults require a one-time booster for Pertussis. 
  • Influenza is airborne and recommended for all travelers. The vaccine components change every year and travelers are advised to get a yearly flu shot. 
  • Chickenpox is spread by direct contact with infected individuals and requires vaccination for those who have never been vaccinated or never had the disease.
  • Shingles is a risk for people who had chicken pox (the disease) as a child. Vaccination is recommended for people 50 and older. You can still be vaccinated even after you have had the infection.
  • Pneumonia is airborne and recommended for people 50 and older (Prevnar-13).  The vaccine is also recommended for individuals with suppressed immunity.
  • Meningitis is both airborne and spreads through direct contact. It is recommended for people who have not been vaccinated or are at an increased risk of contracting meningitis. Those who have previously been vaccinated may require a booster. It is a required vaccine for some travel and some destinations are considered to be high risk for meningitis disease. 
  • Polio is spread through contaminated food and water. It is a routine childhood immunization, and some adults may need an adult booster.   

Yellow Fever Vaccination may be required if you have visited certain countries before traveling to the Caribbean.  You may be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination at the border.


In Conclusion

Traveling to the Caribbean could put you at risk for other health concerns like bites from mosquitos that can transmit Malaria, Dengue fever, and Zika virus. Make sure that you are up-to-date on all recommended and routine vaccines before your journey. Your healthcare provider will provide valuable information about protection from insect bites, insect repellants, nets, antimalarials, and food and water safety measures.

To find out more about these vaccines, see our vaccinations page. We will help you travel the world safely by staying healthy before, during and after your travel. Book your appointment today: online booking or call us at 1-647-697-9351