​Travel health


If you are thinking of travelling outside the UK for a holiday or work, start preparing for your trip, especially long trips, at least 8 weeks before you go. But even if time is short it is never too late to get travel health advice.

You can get advice on travel vaccinations, malaria prevention and general travel health advice from community pharmacies, your GP practice and private travel clinics.

You can also access travel health advice from:

Travel vaccinations

You may need to protect yourself against some of the serious diseases found in other parts of the world. You should find out if you need travel vaccines and make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date.

You can find out which vaccinations are necessary or recommended for where you are travelling to, by visiting Travel Health Pro or Fit for Travel 

You can also find out what vaccines you have had previously and when, by looking at your medical records online using patient-access.co.uk

You can find out more information about how to register for this service by visiting  www.lambethpatientonline.nhs.uk or visit the Patient Online page on this site.

NHS patients can receive advice on travel health, including medicines or vaccines, from their GP practice.

Which travel vaccines can I get from my GP under the NHS?

The following travel vaccinations can be given by your GP practice under the NHS:

  • hepatitis A vaccine
  • combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccine
  • typhoid vaccine
  • combined tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccine
  • cholera vaccine.

Your GP practice may give you the vaccine from the stock they hold in the practice. If your GP practice does not keep the vaccine in stock because they are not used frequently e.g. cholera vaccine, the practice may give you  an NHS prescription to be dispensed at a pharmacy. If you usually pay for your prescriptions, the standard NHS prescription charge will apply.

Which travel vaccines will I need to pay for privately?

You will need to pay privately to get the following vaccinations for travel purposes:

  • hepatitis B (monovalent vaccine and combination vaccine with hepatitis A)
  • meningitis ACWY135
  • yellow fever
  • Japanese B encephalitis
  • tick-borne encephalitis
  • rabies vaccine

NHS Lambeth CCG no longer supports the routine prescribing of the above vaccinations on the NHS, for travel abroad. This will standardise local prescribing practice in NHS services. 

If your GP practice provides the above vaccinations through a private service you may be charged for the following depending on the service provided. For example:

  • cost of the vaccine, if practice vaccine stock is used
  • being given the vaccine
  • writing a private prescription to get a vaccine from the community pharmacy

There may be further charges after vaccination depending on where you are travelling. For example:

  • if post-vaccination serological (blood) testing is required e.g. in the case of Hepatitis B administration
  • if a certification of immunisation is required for travel e.g. confirmation of meningitis ACWY135 vaccine or yellow fever vaccine has been given.

The fee charged is up to the GP practice. Ask your GP practice for information on their fees.

If a private prescription is provided, you will then be charged by the community pharmacy for the medicines. You can compare prices charged between community pharmacies as these vary.

Alternatively you can visit a private travel health clinic to get these prescription only travel vaccines. Some community pharmacies also provide private travel health services. There will be a charge.

It is important to consider the cost of travel vaccines when budgeting for your trip abroad.

Malaria prevention

What is malaria?

Malaria is a serious illness that is common in many parts of Africa, Asia, the Indian subcontinent, South America and some areas in the Far and Middle East. The risk is particularly high in sub-Saharan Africa. 

The disease is spread by mosquitoes that bite at night (dusk to dawn). If you take the correct precautions you can greatly reduce your risk of catching malaria.

How can I protect myself against malaria?

You can protect yourself against malaria, and you must do so every time you visit a country with malaria. This is very important, even if you grew up or lived there and are now returning to visit your friends or family.

No one has full immunity to malaria. Any partial protection you may have from being brought up in a malarious country is quickly lost when you live in countries with no malaria, so everyone needs to take precautions.

ABCD approach to malaria prevention

Many cases of malaria can be avoided. An easy way to remember is the ABCD approach to prevention:

Awareness of risk – find out whether you are at risk of getting malaria before travelling

Bite prevention – avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent such as DEET, covering your arms and legs, and using an insecticide-treated mosquito bed net.

Check whether you need to take malaria prevention medicines – if you do, make sure you take the right malaria prevention tablets at the right dose, and finish the course

Diagnosis – seek immediate medical advice if you develop malaria symptoms, as long as up to a year after you return from travelling. Find out more information on malaria symptoms by visiting www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Malaria

A combination of the preventive measures mentioned above will give significant protection against malaria.

Where can I get malaria prevention medicines?

You can find out if malaria prevention medicines are necessary or recommended for where you are travelling to by visiting Travel Health Pro or Fit for Travel 

You can buy any of the following malaria prevention medicines, you can buy them over the counter from a community pharmacy. You don't need a prescription.

  • chloroquine (Avloclor  ®)
  • proguanil (Paludrine ®)
  • chloroquine with proguanil (Avloclor/Paludrine ®)
  • atovaquone with proguanil (Maloff Protect ®)

Always speak to the pharmacist before buying the above malaria prevention medicines.

You will need to pay privately for the following malaria prevention medicines: 

  • atovaquone with proguanil hydrochloride (Malarone®, Mafamoz®, Reprapog®)
  • doxycycline
  • mefloquine (Larium®)

NHS Lambeth CCG no longer supports the routine prescribing of malaria prevention medicines on the NHS locally, for travel abroad. This will bring prescribing in the borough in line with national guidance.

You can get  a private prescription for the malaria prevention medicines listed above from your GP practice, if they provide this service. Your GP practice may charge you a fee for providing a private prescription. The fee charged is up to the GP practice. Ask your GP practice for information on their fees. 

You will then be charged by the community pharmacy for supply of the medicines. If you get a  private prescription , you can  compare prices charged between community pharmacies, as these vary.

Alternatively, you can visit a private travel health clinic to get these malaria prevention medicines. Some community pharmacies also provide private travel health services. There will be a charge.

It is important to consider the cost of malaria prevention medicines when budgeting for your trip abroad.

Always buy malaria prevention mediciens from a reputable source in the UK before travel so that you can be sure that they are not fake or poor quality.

You will need enough malaria prevention medicine to start taking it before you go away, during your trip and for some time after you return.

If you are using are buying any medicines including malaria prevention medicines from an internet pharmacy, check if the internet pharmacy is registered first. You can do this by visiting the General Pharmaceutical Council online register

Resources

NHS Lambeth CCG


Public Health England leaflets for travellers:

Public Health England Guidelines for use by healthcare professionals and travellers:


Page added 14.9.17, updated 23.10.17