Before you travel: important reminder about routine United Kingdom (UK) vaccines

Before you travel check all your routine immunisations are up to date
Before you travel: important reminder about routine United Kingdom (UK) vaccines

Before travelling abroad, check you and your family are in date for all routine UK recommended vaccine courses and boosters.

When healthcare systems are disrupted and vaccine coverage declines, diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio often return. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a significant decline in childhood vaccination worldwide, related to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated disruption straining health systems [1].

Many diseases prevented by routine vaccination are no longer common in the UK but are still reported in other countries [2-4]. During international travel, routine UK recommended vaccines protect you and your family from infectious diseases like diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella and polio. Further information about these and other diseases is available in Topics in brief.

Diphtheria, mumps, rubella, polio and tetanus are now rare in the UK, thanks to the success of the routine UK vaccination programme [5]. These diseases are still reported in regions where vaccines are in short supply or unavailable and international travellers who are not up to date with their vaccinations can become infected [2-5].

Measles continues to be reported in the UK, as some people missed routine MMR vaccines [3].

Summaries of the numbers of vaccine preventable diseases reported worldwide are available here:

Diphtheria, measles and tetanus outbreaks are not usually reported on the TravelHealthPro Outbreak Surveillance section as UK travellers should have had UK routine immunisations before travelling abroad.

Advice for travellers

Check you and your family are in date for all routine UK recommended vaccine courses and boosters before you travel. If you are not sure, check with your GP practice or a travel clinic. In the UK diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine and MMR vaccines are available free of charge as part of the UK routine vaccination schedule.

See our general advice for travellers for more information about preparing to travel abroad.

Advice for health professionals

Guidance on routine UK vaccines, including information about booster doses, is available in Immunisation against infectious disease.

This includes advice for those people whose immunisation status is uncertain.

In the UK all notifiable diseases must be reported to your local Health Protection Team.


Search by


Explore more

Updated yellow fever ‘green book’ chapter published

The yellow fever chapter in the ‘green book’ (Immunisation against infectious disease) has been updated

Updated: 01 March 2024

Tick-borne encephalitis risk: practical advice during vaccine shortage

An important reminder of practical aspects of tick-borne encephalitis prevention for health professionals and travellers

Updated: 20 February 2024

Country Focus: Thailand

Visiting Thailand

Updated: 19 February 2024

Polio: Public Health Emergency of International Concern

An update on the polio Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Updated: 06 February 2024

Malaria-free certification: Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)

The World Health Organization has granted certification of malaria elimination

Updated: 05 February 2024