At The Travel Doctor-TMVC we want your visit to be a positive, pleasant experience, and the following information can help us to make that happen.
All our clinics provide travel health advice and vaccinations as well as travel health information for all types of travellers. To provide the right advice for all individuals, we need to see you for an individual consultation. We need to work out exactly what you need for your trip. That will depend on where you are going, style of accommodation, activities while you are there, your past medical history, allergies, and a range of other factors that are best discussed during your consultation.
Please allow 45-60 minutes for your consultation, and you should bring:
- Past vaccination records
- Details of your trip itinerary
- Names of any medications you take regularly or intermittently
When should you make an appointment?
You should make an appointment ideally between 6-8 weeks prior to departure. This allows sufficient time for a course of vaccines to be administered if required. If you leave your vaccinations until less than 10 days prior to travel it is possible that you may not be protected for some part of your journey (until you start producing antibodies).
What does an appointment cost?
This can be difficult question to answer as there are many different types of consultations, vaccines, medications and products and is dependant upon the individual nature of your trip itinerary. What we can say is that you will be charged for the consultation with the doctor and you may claim from Medicare a rebate amount for that consultation type. Eg. A standard 20 minute length consultation with a doctor may cost around $70 and a proportion of this will be refunded from Medicare. In addition you will be required to pay for the vaccines, medications and other products that you purchase and no rebate is available on these items. Some private health extras will cover you for travel vaccinations and you must check with your insurer.
The Travel Doctor-TMVC accepts all major credit cards, and all retail services must be paid for on the day.
Is it covered by Medicare?
If travel is for personal reasons, then Medicare will rebate some or all of the consultation fee. Medicare rebates are not payable for travel that is undertaken for work-related purposes, (and to claim work-related costs under Medicare is illegal), nor can Medicare be accessed for costs associated with medical assessments of suitability to travel, eg fitness to travel or fly or visa requirements.
Past vaccination records
If you have an international vaccination record book, please bring it with you. You may need to check with family records or contact your doctor to ask for a written vaccination record. You will be issued with an international vaccination record book during your consultation with The Travel Doctor-TMVC.
What are the likely side effects?
These days, vaccines cause fewer problems than in the past. On the day of vaccination, most people can work, drive a car, play sport or go to the gym, but it is best to 'take it easy'. Modern vaccines do not leave a scar.
The people most likely to faint are 20-29 year old men of above average height, receiving a Tetanus or ADT vaccine plus another vaccine. If you have a history of fainting after injections, make sure you tell the doctor. You will need to lie down during vaccination and for up to ten minutes afterwards.
Allergic reactions (Anaphylaxis)
Allergic reactions are rare but may be very serious. After vaccinations, notify your doctor immediately if you feel:
- itchy (or develop a rash) away from the injection site
- faint (especially on standing up) or dizzy
- short or breath, or develop wheeze or cough
- swelling develop in throat, face, hands or limbs
- suddenly tired
Symptoms usually develop within 30 minutes of vaccination, (hence the need to wait in the clinic after receiving certain vaccines esp Yellow Fever). Occasionally allergic symptoms occur up to 10 days later (esp Japanese Encephalitis). If you develop one or more of the above symptoms within 10 days, immediately call your doctor or go to the nearest casualty department or well equipped medical centre.
Persons with allergies to eggs cannot have vaccines against yellow fever, flu, and sometimes measles/mumps/rubella. Travellers with penicillin allergy can be vaccinated safely.
Sore, red arm
Usually vaccinations cause nothing more serious than a sore arm for a few days. If you keep your arm moving, it will help ease the soreness. The ADT injection may cause a deep lump or hardness which persists for a few weeks. If your arm is red, hot and/or sore, place an ice pack over the affected area. You may take paracetamol. Intradermal vaccines (e.g. rabies) may cause itchiness at the injection site and a small surface lump which may persist for weeks.
Fevers and feeling sick
Yellow fever vaccine may cause a slight fever, headache, tiredness, and muscle aches in 2-10% of persons, starting 3-9 days after vaccination. MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) may cause a fever in 5-15% of persons, starting 5-12 days after vaccination, along with a temporary rash in 5% persons. The old typhoid/cholera combination made many persons feel very 'unwell'. Most of the new 'dead' vaccines do not generally cause fevers. The flu vaccine is 'dead' and cannot cause you to develop the flu. If you develop a fever or become unwell after vaccination, call the doctor who gave you the vaccines.
Diarrhoea or stomach problems
The oral typhoid (capsules) may cause mild to moderate nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhoea within 12-24 hours after taking each capsule. If symptoms are more severe after the second capsule, call your doctor.
Will vaccines weaken my immune system?
Careful investigations have shown absolutely no evidence for any 'weakening'. The vaccines are a 'drop in the bucket' compared to what one's immune system is exposed to every day. A little bit of 'exercise' is probably very good for the immune system. Vaccinations are only recommended when the risk of the disease is far greater than that of the vaccine.
What if I have a cold?
It is safe to be vaccinated while you have a bit of a runny nose, sore throat or cough. Delay vaccination if you have a fever over 39°C or if you are sick enough to be in bed.
Can I drink alcohol after vaccines?
If you are having Japanese Encephalitis vaccine, you must avoid 'more than your usual' alcohol for 48 hours after each dose. If taking typhoid capsules, alcohol (or food) must not be taken within a few hours of each capsule. However it is OK to have alcohol in the 48 hours after other vaccinations - however, stay under the legal limit!
The myth about "no alcohol after receiving vaccines" may have begun this way... Apparently army recruits used to be given numerous vaccines and then be given a day off to recover...and what did the army recruits do when they had the day off? They went to the pub and got drunk and obnoxious, so the army advised them not to drink any alcohol for 48 hours after their vaccines.
How long do vaccinations last?
The table below outlines the usual duration of protection once the vaccination course is complete. For some vaccines, the duration of protection is uncertain.
Flu vaccine (Fluvax)
Hepatitis A (Vaqta / Havrix/Twinrix)
Hepatitis B (HBVax II/Engerix B/Twinrix)
Japanese B Encephalitis
Measles, Mumps, Rubella
Rabies (pre exposure)
Typhoid capsules x 3
Typhoid capsules x 4
10 years > longer
5 years > life
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