Travel Vaccination Service
Webdoctor.ie prescribes most common travel vaccines and malaria prevention within hours of your request. We also tailor the travel vaccines to your travel needs and destinations. Once you complete our online Travel Health Assessment form, it will be reviewed by one of our doctors who will recommend vaccinations for you to consider. If you are happy with this, we will then send your prescription for these vaccinations/ medications to the participating pharmacy of your choice. . We will also provide you with a phone number or web link to book an appointment online and have your vaccinations administered by this participating pharmacy. Please note that payment for the vaccinations is made directly to the pharmacy when attending your appointment.
Malaria is widespread across tropical and subtropical areas. You get malaria if you are bitten by a mosquito that is carrying the infection. Symptoms can develop rapidly and without prompt treatment, it can be fatal. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination against malaria, but you protect yourself from developing this serious infection by taking prophylactic medication and measures to prevent mosquito bites. This combination provides up to 90% protection against this disease.
Who is this service suitable for?
This service is suitable for you if you:
- Are between 17 and 70 years of age
- Are travelling to another country where you may require travel vaccinations or anti-malaria treatment (doxycycline or malarone)
- your planned trip is more than 8 weeks away
Who is this service not suitable for?
This service is not suitable for you if you:
- Are under 17 or more than 70 years of age
- Are making this request for another person (adult or child)
- Are travelling in less than 4 weeks
- Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have severe kidney or liver disease
- Have had an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine (any vaccine)
- Are immunocompromised
- Have a bleeding disorder
- Are taking warfarin medication
- Have had malaria in the past year
- Require a vaccination for yellow fever
What Travel Vaccines do I Need?
Vaccinations should be considered if you are travelling to areas outside of Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The vaccines you need to get before travelling will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Where you plan to travel and what activities you plan to do.
Travelling in developing countries , especially in rural areas, can bring you into contact with more diseases, which means you might need additional vaccines. –Your health. If you are pregnant, have a chronic illness or a weakened immune system, you may need additional vaccines.
- Your vaccination history.
It’s important to stay up-to-date with your routine vaccinations. While diseases like measles are rare in Ireland, they are more common in other countries.
Travel vaccines can be categorised as being:
- Required (legal requirement for entering a country)
- Optional (the disease is present in the country but is the risk of transmission may be low)
Where can I have my travel vaccine administered?
Travel vaccinations can now be given by specially trained pharmacists at participating pharmacies nationwide. (please note you will need a doctor’s prescription for the required vaccines to be administered).
Once you complete our Travel Health assessment, you will be offered the opportunity to book a time to have your vaccines administered in your nearest participating pharmacy.
You can also attend your local GP or a travel health clinic for a consultation and then administration of the required travel vaccinations.
Where can I find out more about travel vaccinations & health advice?
It's important to get travel health information from a reliable source. You can find out more information about your travel destination(s), and the vaccination and health recommendations for your trip, here. Simply select your country and follow the instructions to check the region relevant to you.
How long before travel do I need to get my travel vaccinations?
You should arrange a travel health assessment 8 weeks BEFORE your planned departure, as you may need to start your vaccination course well before you plan to travel. You will want to have enough time to complete the vaccination course recommended.
Many common vaccinations need to be given at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.
It will also take a few weeks for the vaccinations to be effective and some require more than one dose.
In some cases, your vaccinations may not be in stock and have to be ordered by your doctor or pharmacist. This can take several days. An early start to the process is important.
Why Do I Need Travel Vaccinations?
If you're planning on visiting certain parts of the world, you may need to get some vaccinations before you set off. These can help prevent you from getting many serious diseases which we don't normally have in Ireland. The childhood vaccination programme in Ireland protects you from a number of diseases, but you may need extra vaccinations if you're planning on travelling to certain parts of the world. We strongly advise that childhood vaccinations are up to date/ full course has been completed.
What vaccines do I need to travel to Thailand and Southeast Asia?
For most travellers to South-East Asia, we recommend up-to-date travel vaccine protection for:
- Hepatitis A
Other routine travel vaccinations that might also need to be considered are:
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese Encephalitis
Depending on what region you are travelling to and what activities you will be doing, we may also recommend:
- Anti-Malaria Tablets
Can Webdoctor.ie prescribe a vaccine for Yellow Fever?
Unfortunately, we are not able to provide prescriptions for yellow fever vaccinations. Please consult with your local GP or travel medicine clinic if you need this.
What do you need to provide Webdoctor.ie with to make our assessment?
- Past medical history
- List of your current medications
- Details of you trip (destination, duration, reason for travel, activities)
- Details of previous vaccinations (if possible - you can check this with your local GP)
- Photographic ID
The doctor reviewing your questionnaire may need some additional information. If this is the case, they will send you a message via your secure patient account.
What are the potential side effects of travel vaccines?
These vaccinations are generally well-tolerated and any side effects that occur are usually mild.
Localised side effects are common:
- Tenderness/ redness/ swelling at the injection site.
- Generalised side effects are uncommon and include:
- Fever (>38°)
Anaphylaxis is a potentially serious adverse event that is associated with the administration of all vaccinations, but this is thankfully extremely rare.
A hypersensitivity reaction of the skin can occur with some vaccinations, particularly after more than one dose (swelling and redness of arm from shoulder to elbow). This usually starts 2-8 hours after the vaccine has been given, and resolves without treatment in time. This is also very rare.
What anti-malaria treatments do you prescribe?
We can arrange prescriptions for:
- Vibramycin (Doxycycline)
These MUST ALWAYS be used in conjunction with mosquito bite avoidance measures.
The choice of medication depends on where you intend to travel, how long you intend to stay and your medical history.
There are some potentially serious interactions between malarone and doxycycline with other medications. It is very important that you let us know all the medications you are taking so we can ensure safe prescribing.
You should never take any medication that has caused an allergic reaction.
You should not take malarone if you have significant kidney disease.
It is usually well tolerated and side effects are not common. Dizziness, headache, skin reactions, and tummy upset (diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea) do sometimes occur.
For full details please read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication before you start it.
You should not use doxycycline if you have significant liver disease, or certain medical conditions such as lupus (SLE), Myasthenia gravis, porphyria, narrowing of your oesophagus or raised intracranial pressure.
Common side effects include heartburn/ indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.
This medication will make you more sensitive to sunlight, and therefore your skin will burn more easily in the sun. You should ensure you have appropriate clothing to cover and protect your skin and high-factor sunscreen.
Women can experience vaginal thrush when taking this, especially for a prolonged time.
If you develop the following symptoms you should stop this medication and seek URGENT medical advice:
- A persistent headache with blurred vision/ loss of vision and nausea/ vomiting
- A significant & persistent skin rash
For full details please read the information leaflet that comes with your medication before you start it.
How long do you need to take anti-malaria medication?
This depends on which medication you are taking, and how long you are in a malaria zone.
Malarone is started 1-2 days before entering a high risk malaria zone, taken for the duration of your stay and for a further 7 days when you leave the malaria zone.
It is taken once daily, with food. If you miss a dose, or have vomiting within one hour of taking it, take another tablet as soon as possible and carry on taking your daily tablet.
Doxycycline is started 1-2 days before entering a high risk malaria zone, taken for the duration of your stay and for a further 28 days after you leave the malaria zone.
It is taken once daily, on an empty stomach with a full glass of water. (You should remain upright for 60 minutes after taking it).
Avoid calcium, magnesium, aluminium, zinc and iron for 1-2 hours before and after taking this medication as they can affect absorption (this includes vitamin supplements and dairy products).
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time to take the next dose, then skip the missed dose – you should not take 2 doses together.
Regardless of what medication you are taking, it is essential that you complete the recommended course of treatment.
What are mosquito avoidance measures?
To reduce the risk of getting Malaria, you should:
- Avoid mosquito bites, especially after sunset. If you are out at night wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers
- Use an insecticide spray (such as Permethrin) on clothes as mosquitoes can bite through thin layers of clothing. AVOID spraying insecticide on the skin!
- Spray pesticides in the room (especially beneath bedside lockers and other bedroom furniture), burning pyrethroid coils, and heating insecticide-coated tablets all help to repel mosquitoes
- Use an insect repellent (ideally one that contains DEET) on areas of skin that are exposed
- If you are staying in a place where there are no insect screens, you should strongly consider keeping the windows closed
- Use a mosquito net while sleeping – hint: spray insecticide on your net to further prevent mosquito bites
Vitamin B, garlic and ultrasound devices DO NOT offer protection against mosquitoes bites.
What are the important facts about malaria and travelling?
- Malaria is a serious and potentially fatal disease. There is no vaccination for malaria.
- Not all malaria treatments are suitable for all high-risk malaria areas. Check the Fit For Travel site for specific information on malaria in the area you are travelling to.
- Things change – the treatment you used for the same area may not be suitable now. Always seek advice for each new trip
- Anti-malaria drug treatments should ALWAYS be used along with mosquito bite avoidance measures
- If you develop malaria symptoms when travelling, or when you return home, you must seek medical attention urgently, even if you have been taking antimalarial tablets.
- You remain at risk from malaria up to 12 months after you return from a high-risk malaria zone (highest risk is within the first 3 months). If you become unwell with a temperature within one year of travelling, seek urgent medical assessment and make sure to tell the doctor about your travels.
Can I use this service if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then our service is not suitable for you.
You will require a more detailed risk assessment than we can provide safely as a written online consultation service.
We would advise that you make an appointment with your local GP or travel medicine clinic.
What will happen when I attend the pharmacy for my vaccinations?
- You will need to bring valid photographic identification (ID) to all of your vaccination appointments. This will be checked by the pharmacist to ensure the details on your ID match the details on the prescription issued via your online account.
- Your pharmacist will tell you more about the service and review relevant parts of your medical history. They will discuss how the vaccination will be given and will give you the opportunity to ask any questions.
- If you have a fever on the day of your appointment, you may be asked to return when you’re better.
- If everything is ok from a medical perspective, and you are happy, you will receive your vaccination. It will be given in your upper arm, so please wear loose-fitting clothing or short sleeves.
- It will be necessary for you to resin in the pharmacy for 15 minutes after your vaccination, just in case you have any immediate side effects.
- What happens next?
Your pharmacist will advise you on when to make your next appointment, depending on how many vaccinations you require.
Dr. Sylvester Mooney
BSc, LRCS & PI, MB, BCh, BAO, DObs, DCH, DFSRH(RCOG)