I am traveling to South Africa from the US in October, 2016 and have seen various conflicting info on what immunizations are needed. Can someone clarify what is needed?


1 Answer 1


As Dorothy notes in comments, the US Centers for Disease Control has travel recommendations for South Africa (if your country has a similar service offered by its health agency, you should check that as well).

The only immunization strictly required by the South African government is Yellow Fever. If you are coming from a country with Yellow Fever risk (including a layover 12 hours or longer in the airport), you must have a certificate of vaccination.

Beyond that, several measures are recommended to protect your health and ensure you don't bring back infectious diseases. The CDC recommends that you ensure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date. In addition, they specifically recommend, for most travelers, vaccination for Hepatitis A and Typhoid.

If you are traveling to an area with Malaria (including Kruger National Park), the CDC recommends you take steps to prevent mosquito bites (bug spray, chemically treated clothing, nets, etc...) and talk to your doctor about taking antimalarial drugs during your trip.

Finally, they advise that Hepatitis B and Rabies vaccines may be beneficial for some travelers based on risk factors.

It is recommended to get vaccinations at least a month or two before travel, so this is a good time to address the issue. Many areas have travel medicine clinics where a healthcare worker will take your itinerary, make personalized recommendations, answer any questions, and administer necessary vaccines. They should be able to take care of everything for you and cut through any confusion. If you go to such a clinic, you should bring whatever vaccination records you can, to help determine your history.

I'll add that the clinic I saw also prescribed a supply of antibiotics to take in case of traveler's diarrhea.

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