The travel vaccinations currently recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) and the German Society for Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine and Global Health eV (DTG) include cholera, COVID-19, TBE (tick-borne encephalitis), yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, ACWY meningococci, poliomyelitis, rabies and typhoid. In addition, various other vaccinations may be necessary – depending on the travel destination, duration of the trip, type of vacation and state of health of the person traveling.
The vaccination status should first be checked together with the family doctor for recommended standard vaccinations according to the RKI vaccination calendar. In addition, travel medicine advice should be given – from specialized doctors, tropical institutes or health authorities. Detailed information about travel and security advice for the different countries is available on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
Certain vaccinations may be required in some countries for international travel. According to Dr. Matthias Boldt, head of the vaccination center in Hamburg, currently about vaccinations against yellow fever in northern South America and in Africa south of the Sahara as well as vaccinations against polio for longer stays in some African and Asian countries.
The website of the Federal Foreign Office and the Safe Travel app provide further travel and safety information for the different countries.
If vaccinations are required for entry, travelers must expect controls, according to physician Boldt. “Anyone who wants to go to Nigeria, for example, should get vaccinated against yellow fever in good time and carry their vaccination card with them.” The level of strict controls depends heavily on the local authorities and the individual case. There are cases in which travelers can be vaccinated on site and then allowed to enter the country. However, it is also possible that entry will be denied.
Boldt advises not only to have mandatory but also recommended vaccinations and to carry proof of vaccination with you: “If you end up in the hospital with a bleeding injury, the medical staff on site can quickly check for the existence of a tetanus vaccination.”
The travel restrictions due to the corona pandemic have now been lifted worldwide. However, international travel can be associated with an increased risk of corona infection. The German Society for Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine and Global Health eV (DTG) recommends travelers without a corona vaccination to be fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and to carry the relevant proof (digital or vaccination card) with them when travelling.
The website of the Federal Foreign Office and the Safe Travel app provide detailed information about corona vaccinations for entry into individual countries.
Vaccinations against TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) are currently recommended, for example, for trips to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Austria and parts of Switzerland and other Eastern European countries. In addition, for trips to southern Sweden and other coastal regions in Scandinavia. The risk of TBE infection can also vary greatly within countries, depending on the region. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports TBE cases in Europe.
For detailed information about the TBE risk in the travel destination, it is advisable to consult your family doctor in advance.
If you want to travel, you should go to your family doctor in good time with your vaccination card to have any missing standard and travel vaccinations done. With some vaccinations, protection only occurs weeks after vaccination, so a lead time of several weeks or even months may be necessary if vaccinations are missing or more than one is needed.
The RKI also recommends completing vaccinations no later than two weeks before the start of the trip. In this way, vacationers can be sure that the necessary immunity has been built up by the body. In addition, undesirable side effects can subside or be treated.
According to the RKI, people insured by statutory health insurance (GKV) are generally entitled to benefits for travel vaccinations if the stay abroad is for work or training. For private trips abroad, numerous statutory and private health insurance companies now reimburse the costs for many travel vaccinations. In principle, the assumption of costs depends on the respective health insurance company. Travelers should check with their insurance company in advance.