Immunisation is a process by which a person attains immunity or resistance against infectious diseases through vaccinations. A vaccine is a suspension of dead or weakened disease-producing cells (antigen). Vaccination is the process of administering the vaccine into your body. These inactivated cells then stimulate your body’s immune system. Once you are vaccinated, your immune system remembers that particular antigen and can combat it again later in your life should be become infected with that disease.

Immunisations are not only important for children but the prevalence and complications from vaccine-preventable diseases remain fairly large in adults. Some of the recommended adult vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (DPT), seasonal influenza, pneumococcal, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and Shingles.

Travellers are at a greater risk for contracting infectious diseases. Vaccinations must therefore be customised keeping in mind the traveller’s vaccination history, the country to be visited, the type and duration of travel, and the time left for departure. You should make a travel vaccine consult to discuss this with your doctor at least 2 months in advance to allow adequate time to optimize the immunisation schedules.

Some of the recommended vaccinations for travellers include typhoid, rabies, meningococcal disease, Japanese encephalitis, influenza, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, cholera, (BCG), yellow fever, tetanus and diphtheria, poliomyelitis, pertussis, and measles-mumps-rubella.

Immunocompromised and pregnant people are, in general, not recommended for live vaccines such as oral typhoid, yellow fever, MMR, varicella, and BCG. Your doctor will be the best person to address your concerns and make further recommendations.

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