All You Need to Know About Travel Vaccinations for India

Are you planning on travelling to India soon? Be sure to get all the required travel vaccines for India and visit your doctor at least 6-8 weeks before you depart.

India is geographically and culturally diverse, rich with historic attractions like the Taj Mahal and Golden Temple, unique enticing local cuisines, and memorable adventures.

But there are a range of potential diseases in India you may be exposed to which can easily ruin what would otherwise be an incredible vacation!

It is important to have a good understanding of the essential vaccinations required for travel to India from Australia, so you can properly plan your next trip.

How long before travelling do I need vaccinations?
Don’t wait until the last minute, because many of the vaccinations required for India need time to build immunity, and some of them may need to be spaced apart. You should receive all the vaccinations needed for India at least 4-6 weeks before your departure date to give them time to work.

That means you should schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you know for certain that you are travelling to India. They will provide you with your India vaccine schedule, customised depending on the ones you need.

This quick guide will help you understand which vaccinations you need to travel to India. However, your medical provider will confirm your specific vaccinations with you, as they can vary substantially depending on your unique needs.

Pre-travel Preparation Will Help Protect Your Health While You Are Away

Pre-travel preparation will help keep you safe and healthy while you are away. Please consult the Travel Doctor-TMVC before you travel to India. We will provide specific recommendations tailored to your itinerary. Our doctors will assess and advise you on your risks, and recommend appropriate vaccination and medication to minimise your risk of becoming seriously unwell on your trip.

Safe Eating and Drinking Practices

One of the great pleasures of India travel is sampling the local cuisine. However, contaminated food and beverages are a common cause of traveller’s diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal illnesses. Safe eating and drinking practices are essential in minimising your risk of contracting traveller’s diarrhoea.

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What Vaccinations Do I Need for India?

Your routine vaccinations should be updated before you travel to India. If you do not have evidence of immunity, you may need to receive one or more of the following routine vaccines for India:

  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella
    Your medical provider will check to ensure that you are up to date on your measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. If you have no evidence of prior vaccination you will likely receive an initial MMR vaccine or booster.
  • Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis
    You may need a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (TdapdTpa) vaccination or booster before you depart to India. You will receive the booster if it has been more than 10 years since your prior vaccination.
  • Polio
    Up until 2014, polio was endemic in India. Now, to maintain a polio-free country, India sometimes requires evidence of polio immunity before travelling from a polio infected country. Anyone travelling to India should be up to date on their polio vaccinations. If you received the polio vaccine as a child but have never received the booster as an adult, you may be advised to receive a dose of the polio vaccination (IPV).

Additional Potential Vaccinations for India

These are additional potential vaccinations for India that may be recommended by your medical provider depending on which regions you are travelling to, your prior vaccinations and other factors:

  • Cholera
    A cholera vaccination is rarely recommended for travel to India. It may be recommended for some with underlying medical conditions as it has been shown to reduce the risk of travellers’ diarrhoea for a limited time after vaccination. Following safe food and water guidelines and hand washing will reduce risk of infection from this and other food and water borne diseases.
  • Hepatitis A
    A Hepatitis A vaccination may be required as this viral illness can be transmitted through food and water and it is frequently recommended for most travellers to India.
  • Hepatitis B
    This is another potentially serious viral illness that is transmitted through bodily fluids or blood and it is now considered routine for most travellers to India. A rapid schedule Hepatitis B vaccine is available in combination with Hepatitis A. Hepatitis B is considered a routine vaccination and many people under 30, in Australia, have had this as part of the standard vaccine schedule.
  • Typhoid
    This vaccination is often recommended for those travelling to India, even those who are staying mostly in urban areas, as it is a potentially fatal illness. India is a high-risk part of the world for typhoid disease. Two forms of typhoid vaccine are available: an injection or oral form.
  • Malaria
    Parts of India have an active risk of Malaria, especially low-altitude areas, and therefore you may be recommended to take an anti-malarial prescription before, during and after your trip. Speak to your doctor about your risk for malaria while traveling in India.
  • Yellow Fever
    Proof of yellow fever vaccination is only required if you have visited a yellow fever affected area within 6 days of travelling to India. Otherwise, if you have not, you will not typically be required to get this vaccination before you travel to India unless you are travelling to an area with a yellow fever outbreak.
  • Japanese Encephalitis
    The Japanese encephalitis vaccine may be required for those who will be staying longer than one month in India in rural areas or those who are participating in outdoor activities on shorter trips during the evening. This vaccine helps prevent this serious mosquito-borne illness.
  • Rabies
    some animals within India transmit rabies including bats, dogs and others, so the rabies vaccination may be recommended depending on where you travel and your activities. Those who will encounter animals, children, and those who are traveling outdoors may be recommended to receive a rabies vaccine before travel.

Other Health Considerations

Traveller’s diarrhoea is quite common for those travelling to India from Australia, with up to 70 percent of travellers being affected during their trip. To avoid this, make sure to eat only from well known, sanitary restaurants, wash your hands frequently and only drink treated water. Check the seals on bottles of water bought from stores.

The causes for this illness can be varied – from pathogens like viruses, bacteria and parasites to simple incompatibility with a particular meal.

It is a good idea to talk with your medical provider about potentially bringing a traveller’s diarrhoea kit with you that you can use to treat diarrhoea if you become unwell overseas.

Getting the required vaccinations for India from Australia before you travel and following some basic sanitary and hygiene practices will ensure that you can enjoy a culturally enriching experience and bring back nothing more than your souvenirs and great memories!