Travel vaccinations for India
If you grew up in the UK, it’s highly likely that you have received some immunisations. However, these still need to be kept up to date.
- Where in India you are travelling – some areas are more prone to malaria, for instance
- The type of travel you have planned
- Your overall health and wellbeing, as well as your history of disease
- When and how long you are staying
Travel health information for India varies depending on the source. We follow UK national bodies, for up to date information on India vaccinations, such as these guidelines from the NHS, as well as official foreign travel advice.
What injections do I need for India?
When discussing the type of injections needed for India, it’s important to bear in mind when you need to get them. It’s recommended to get injections for India 6-8 weeks before travelling. Of course, this is not always a reality with last-minute work and family trips, as well as those must-have flight deals. If this is the case, our trained medical professionals will be able to advise on the best course of action.
This is the most up to date travel information regarding vaccines for India:
MMR – Measles, mumps and rubella
Advised for all travellers, especially given the current global outbreak of measles. This will consist of a check to see if your current jabs for MMR are still effective.
DTP – Diphtheria, polio and tetanus
Like MMR, DTaP is a travel vaccination that is needed for India, so it’s important to check that your childhood vaccination is up to date.
Rabies is the 10th biggest cause of death due to infectious diseases globally. The stereotype of a crazed, rabid animal still prevails, yet rabies can be transferred simply by a scratch or even a lick from animals whose symptoms may not be obvious.
Our Lead Nurse, Kamila Soltysik, wrote an interesting article in the Journal of British Global and Travel Health Association on why rabies has not been eradicated in India.
Your jabs for rabies last ten years. This means that it’s one of the more long-lasting investments in your travel health and you won’t have to worry about how much the vaccinations for India cost for a long time.
Similar to the salmonella bug responsible for causing many bouts of food poisoning, the bacteria associated with typhoid is also found in food and water. The bacteria targets the liver, which causes up to 2-3 weeks of severe illness and can be fatal, therefore it is recommended for most travellers.
If you’re wanting to enjoy all that Indian cuisine has to offer, then the Hepatitis A injection should be one of your India vaccinations. The street food in India is incredibly flavourful, but we suggest that you stay safe with this preventative vaccine for India so that you can fully enjoy the fantastic flavours on offer.
More than 800,000 people from Britain visit India every year. Based in South Asia, its neighbours are Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The table below provides a general guide as to the Travel Vaccinations that may be advised to you for travel to India. The Vaccinations and Medications that are needed for travel vary from person-to-person. Everyone should have a personal risk assessment with a travel health professional to take into account a range of factors such as itinerary, medical condition, occupational and lifestyle risk factors and previous vaccination history.
|Vaccination||All Travellers||Most Travellers||Some Travellers||Major Risk|
|MMR||Yes||Person-to-Person||Measles, mumps, rubella, Course of Two||£56|
|DTaP||Yes||Person-to-Person||Tetanus, Diptheria, polio, Single Dose||£41|
|Typhoid||Yes||Contaminated Food and Water||Typhoid, single dose||£51|
|Hepatitis A||Yes||Contaminated Food and Water||Hepatitis A, Single Dose||£86|
|Cholera||Yes||Contaminated Food and Water||Cholera, for course of 2||£37.50|
|Hepatitis B||Yes||Body Fluids, Medical Intervention||Hepatitis B, Course of Three||£61|
|Japanese Encephalitis||Yes||Mosquitoes||Japanese encephalitis, Course of Two||£96|
|Rabies||Yes||Infected Animals||Rabies, Course of Three||£66|
Advice for travellers to all destinations
The Vaccinations and Medications that are needed for travel vary from person-to-person. Everyone should have a personal risk assessment with a travel health professional to take into account a range of factors such as itinerary, medical condition, occupational and lifestyle risk factors and previous vaccination history.
What is the risk of malaria in India?
Malaria is a parasitic illness spread by mosquitoes that bite from dusk to dawn throughout the tropical world. It causes high fever and flu-like symptoms. In serious cases, malaria can be fatal.
Malaria prevention isn’t one of the regular jabs for India. Instead, we advise travellers heading to areas where there is a risk of malaria to take malaria medication, which can help stop the illness from developing. The type of medication required depends on your destination, itinerary, length of stay and current medical condition.
Further reduce the risk of by practicing mosquito bite avoidance by using insect repellent such as DEET 50% and covering exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers.
Yellow fever risk and certification requirements for India
Yellow Fever is a serious viral illness spread by mosquitoes in the tropical regions of Africa and South America. here is no risk of yellow fever in India, there is a Yellow Fever Certification Requirement for some travellers.
Under International Health Regulations (2005), travellers who have been to an Area affected by Yellow Fever, or who have travelled via an airport of a country affected, are required to present an International Certificate of Vaccination (ICVP) before they are allowed to enter India.
Additional travel risks for India
Heat and humidity
India is a huge country and its climate is diverse, ranging from tropical wet, tropical semi-arid, sub-tropical and alpine. Generally, summer is March to May and temperatures throughout the country regularly reach 40 degrees. There is little respite from the extreme dry sunny heat during this time. Temperatures will be slightly cooler in the south of the country however the humidity will be much higher. Remember to protect yourself against dehydration by drinking plenty of bottled water. Avoid sunburn and heatstroke by wearing sunscreen (the higher the SPF rating the better, ideally 30+), staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm and wearing sunglasses and a hat.
Towards the end of May the monsoon starts to build, with rising humidity, thunder and dust storms. By July rain will have covered most of the country and will continue until around October. The winter season that follows, from November to February is the most comfortable time to visit India and the most popular with tourists.
Drink only bottled water in India. Use it for brushing your teeth and avoid ice cubes. Recommended bottled water brands in India are Aquafina, Bisleri and Kinley which all come in a range of shapes and sizes. Check the seal on the bottle before you drink it as some stalls will resell unclean water in used bottles. It is best to crush your plastic bottle after use to avoid it being used for this purpose. Some hotels will also provide complementary drinking water in glass bottles, which is also best to avoid. The Telegraph have an excellent insider’s guide on trustworthy places to stay.
Food and drink
Most people that travel to India are likely to experience Travellers Diarrhoea at some point of their journey, ranging from a mild case of Delhi Belly to severe diarrhoea. One of the biggest risk factors that contributes to travellers diarrhoea is through the food that you eat.
India has a national health care system. Cities and tourist areas provide good health care services. Be sure you have enough money with you to pay for any health care you might need.
Should you be planning on travelling to areas of high altitude, including the Himalayas, you need to be aware of altitude sickness. You can obtain altitude sickness medication and practice appropriate acclimatisation and gradual ascents to counter altitude sickness.
Accidents can and do happen. Do ensure that you have taken out adequate and comprehensive travel insurance before your departure to India. Make sure that your policy includes medical evacuation as well as any adventure activities that you might be planning such as scuba diving and rock climbing.
India is, for the most part safe, for tourists and the authorities give high priority to their safety. However do keep up-to-date with travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Animal bites expose you to a range of infections including Rabies. Street dogs, cats, bats and rodents are common throughout the cities and rural areas of India. If you get bitten or scratched you will need to get urgent medical attention.
Insect bites expose travellers to many diseases in India including Dengue Fever, Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis. Take steps to avoid insect bites including wearing insect repellant such as DEET 50% and covering areas of exposed skin with long sleeves and trousers.
Practice good personal hygiene to avoid travellers diarrhoea in India. Use alcohol gel, wash your hands regularly and monitor what you are putting in your mouth.
Terrorism and political risks
There have also been terrorist attacks in recent years in a number of cities including Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai, some of which have targeted westerners in particular. Travellers are advised to keep up-to-date with government travel advice when planning travel to these areas.
Due to the ongoing dispute over Kashmir, travellers should get advice from their consulate before visiting any of the areas bordering Pakistan as well as Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura.
In the neighbourhood, South Asia
If you are travelling further afield throughout South Asia make sure you check out the vaccination injections that you need for every country that you are going to.