Travelling to the Bahamas? Need Vaccinations?
A country of more than 700 islands, the Bahamas accounts for thousands of miles of shoreline, and an inexhaustible wealth of unsullied beaches to explore. From the bustling port of Nassau with its straw market, tour boats, and hoardes of cruise ship passengers to the crystal clear aquamarine waters and hidden cays of the Exuma Islands, you will never run out of favourites. Be sure to see Georgetown, Great Exuma or visit Exuma sound on the east and walk the ruins of great plantation houses.
Sail to Bimini for some of the world’s best sport fishing, or cross the bridge from Nassau to try your luck at the Paradise Island casino. Nearby, savour the sumptuous cuisine at legendary Café Martinique, featured in the Bond film Thunderball. Before you start packing, your first stop on your way to Bahamas should be a visit to our Travel Health Clinic, at least four to eight weeks before departure so that you will be completely safe and up-to-date with the Vaccinations you need for travel to the Bahamas.
What Vaccinations do I need for Travel to The Bahamas?
Travellers to The Bahamas are generally advised the following vaccinations:
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio Vaccination
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio area all serious and potentially life threatening diseases. Most travellers should have been vaccinated as part of the UK national vaccination schedule. A booster every ten years is recommended by the World Health Organisation. Vaccination is given as a single dose as part of the combined DTP Vaccination.
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio, Revaxis, Single Dose: £40
Measles, Mumps and Rubella
Measles, Mumps and Rubella are serious and potentially life threatening diseases. Most travellers should have been vaccinated as part of the UK national vaccination schedule. Vaccination is given as a course of two as part of the combined MMR Vaccination.
Measles Mumps and Rubella, MMR, Course of Two: £50 per dose
Typhoid is a serious bacterial infection which causes acute inflammation of the liver. Left untreated, Typhoid can be fatal. It is found throughout the world in areas that have poor sanitation including Africa, Central and South America, South Asia and India, the Middle East. There are a number of options for vaccination including single, combined and oral vaccination.
Typhoid, Typhim Vi, Single Dose: £50
Hepatitis A and Typhoid, Viatim, Single Dose: £105
Typhoid Oral, Vivotiff, Course of Three, £50 for the course
Following a risk assessment based on your itinerary, length of stay, occupational and personal risks you may be advised additional travel vaccinations for The Bahamas, including:
Hepatitis B Vaccination
Hepatitis B affects the functioning of the liver and is spread by coming into contact with infected bodily fluids. High risk activities include sexual intercourse, sharing needles and through medical intervention using unsterile equipment. There are a number of options for vaccination including single and combined vaccinations.
Hepatitis B Adult, EnergixB, Course of Three, £55 per dose
Hepatitis B Child, EnergixB Junior, Course of Three, £40 per dose
Hepatitis A and B Adult, Twinrix, Course of Three: £70 per dose
Hepatitis A and B Child, Twinrix orAmbrix Course of Three £55 per dose
Further Travel Health Advice for the Bahamas
Heat and Humidity
Situated as they are in the Atlantic Ocean, the islands of the Bahamas are temperate with year-round breezes, but the sun is very strong, and a sun block with SPF 20 should be applied before visiting the beach or going snorkelling. Make a habit of carrying bottled water with you wherever you go, to stay hydrated. Alcohol will dehydrate you, so take care to limit your alcohol intake.
Tap water in the Bahamas is generally safe, but most visitors choose bottled water, which can be purchased anywhere. Remember to bring lots with you when touring, or lounging on the beach.
Food and Drink
The major hotels in Nassau, Paradise Island, and on Grand Bahama serve all types of International cuisine, so to experience the true taste of Bahamian food, you will have to do a little hunting. Your efforts will be rewarded with your first taste of spicy conch chowder, a delicious blend of tomatoes, potatoes, sweet peppers, onions, salt pork, herbs and spices. Bahamian chefs fry up conch fritters, and cracked conch and marinate it in hot pepper sauce to make conch salad.
And you haven’t really tried Bahamian food until you have tasted grouper fingers, or steamed grouper with creole sauce. Fruits are the focus of some favourite desserts, like soursop ice cream or guava duff dessert, and papaya, or “paw-paw”, is made into chutney, or in its natural state with almost every meal. You may have heard of a Bahama Mama shake, also made from Papaya. Cocktails like the popular Goombay smash almost always feature fruit with rum.
Seeking Treatment Abroad
If you need health care in the Bahamas, there are hospitals and good clinics on New Providence Island and Grand Bahama Island. In general the standard of care is very good, however, it is best to check with your hotel or resort before choosing a care facility. Arrange in advance to have plenty of money with you to pay for any health care you might need, since your own insurance may not cover these costs and most clinics require cash payment.
Travel and Health Insurance
Protect yourself, and your family, with comprehensive travel health insurance which will cover your intended itinerary and any potentially risky activities, like parasailing or diving.
Aside from observing the normal precautions, such as not carrying large sums of money, visitors are generally safe in tourist areas.