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Getting Ready: Pre-travel Inoculations: Routine

TDP (Tetanus - Diphtheria - Polio)

While these infections have largely been eradicated in most industrialized countries, they continue to occur in the tropics, and some Eastern European countries. Polio has now been eradicated from the Western Hemisphere. Many adults, however, no longer have adequate immunity against these infections.

Boosters against tetanus and diphtheria should be given every 10 years whether travelling or not. For those who are travelling to countries where polio is still a risk, a booster dose of polio vaccine should be given. TdP is a combined vaccine against all three infections, which provides continued protection for 10 years.


Measles is a viral infection which continues to kill millions of children in the developing world. Therefore, travellers who lack immunity are at risk. The vaccine is customarily given during childhood between the age of 12 - 15 months. But not all of those who received one dose of the vaccine between the years 1957 - 1980 continue to be immune. Therefore, the vaccine should be recommended for anyone born between these years who will be travelling to high risk area. Blood tests can be done to measure immunity.


Travellers of any age may choose to have this vaccine, even if you aren’t going anywhere. The flu season in the southern hemisphere is opposite that of the northern hemisphere. Standing in line for hours at check-in, in customs, and sitting on the airplane certainly exposes you to lots of airborne infections.


This vaccine should be routinely given to adults over the age of 65. As well, those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis, diabetes, heart disease or those missing their spleen should receive this vaccine.

Content (c) Mark Wise
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