Vaccination

Our pharmacies are well-stocked with vaccines for immunisation purposes. We offer a travel vaccination service which is completely confidential and takes approximately 30 minutes.

 

Vaccines and their purpose

Vaccination is the administration of a type of medicine called a vaccine, that is used to prevent the development of harmful diseases before one is exposed to them. It is a simple, safe and effective way of using your body’s natural defence, the immune system, to build resistance against specific infections which can be dangerous, or even deadly. Although the risk of contracting such diseases are statistically low, you don’t want to be lacking the protection that vaccines provide if you or a family member would ever need it.

 

Vaccines contain a weakened, killed or modified version of a virus or bacteria which causes a specific infection. It is such that when administered into the body, the vaccine will stimulate your immune cells to create antibodies (a type of protein which is used to identify harmful pathogens as foreign) which will ultimately trigger a response that will neutralise this foreign body (the modified pathogen). Your immune system is clever in the way that it will remember the modified pathogen that it was exposed to, so that if you are exposed to the disease-causing pathogen later, it will recognise it and will be ready to destroy it quickly. Vaccines are thus important as they help prevent illnesses and save the lives of up to 3 million people every year.

 

 

Today there are vaccines available to protect against at least 20 diseases, including:

  1. Chickenpox (Varicella)
  2. Cholera
  3. COVID-19
  4. Diphtheria
  5. Flu (Influenza)
  6. Hepatitis A
  7. Hepatitis B
  8. Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
  9. HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
  10. Japanese Encephalitis
  11. Measles
  12. Meningococcal
  13. Mumps
  14. Pneumococcal
  15. Polio (Poliomyelitis)
  16. Rabies
  17. Rotavirus
  18. Rubella (German Measles)
  19. Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
  20. Tetanus (Lockjaw)
  21. Tuberculosis
  22. Typhoid fever
  23. Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
  24. Yellow fever

 

Types of vaccines

There are several types of vaccines, which can be broadly categorised as live-attenuated vaccines or not.

 

Live-attenuated vaccines

Live vaccines use an attenuated (weakened) form of the pathogen that causes a disease. Owing to the fact that these vaccines are so similar to the natural infection that they help prevent, they create a strong and long-lasting immune response. In fact, just 1 or 2 doses of most live vaccines can give you a lifetime of protection against a virus/bacteria and the disease it causes.

 

Examples of live vaccinations:

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Rotavirus
  • Smallpox
  • Yellow fever

 

However, because they contain a small amount of the weakened live virus, live vaccinations should be avoided in certain populations such as in:

  • Immunocompromised patients (e.g. tose who suffer from HIV infection)
  • Patients on systemic steroid therapy
  • Pregnancy

 

Other non-‘live’ vaccines

Without dwelling into the specifics, other types of vaccinations include inactivated vaccines, messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines, toxoid vaccines and viral vector vaccines. Despite their differences in their characteristics, these types of vaccines do not contain a live form of the pathogen, and thus are generally safe. The only absolute contraindication for such vaccines is a severe local or general reaction to a previous dose.

 

Examples of non-live vaccinations:

  • COVID-19 – mRNA (Moderna), viral vector (AstraZeneca)
  • Diphtheria – toxoid · HPV (Human papillomavirus) – recombinant vaccine
  • Pneumococcal – conjugate
  • Tetanus – toxoid

 

Side effects from vaccines

Like any other medicine, vaccines can cause mild side effects, such as a low-grade fever, chills, and pain or redness at the site of injection. Mild reactions are completely normal and go away on their own within a few days.

 

Each vaccine may also have severe or long-lasting side effects, although these are extremely rare. Vaccines are continually being monitored to detect these rare adverse events and ensure their safety.

 

When to get vaccinated

In general, you or your child should get vaccinated against a specific disease according to the national immunisation schedule. In addition to this, you should also consider vaccinating against specific diseases when travelling internationally. Such vaccination is varied and may change to time to time according to global outbreaks and changes in disease patterns.

We offer a travel vaccination service for those travelling internationally

 

How it works

 

1. Plan ahead

Begin organising your travel immunization about 3 months before your date of arrival at your travel destination, since some vaccines require multiple doses. Remember it is always better to be vaccinated early rather than being incompletely vaccinated!

 

2. Vaccination pre-screening

As an initial step to your immunization, complete our Travel Vaccination Form and download a copy of your immunization history from the myHealth portal (Ref. 02 – Guide to Acessing myHealth Immunization History)

Make sure to take an electronic or printed copy of this to your appointment.

 

3. One of our medical professionals will check to see what vaccinations you would need based upon your travel destination and will contact you to communicate this information with you.

 

4. Upon your confirmation, one of our members of staff will send the vaccines to the pharmacy of your choice, which will be kept aside for you until your scheduled appointment.


 

Frequently asked question

 

How long will the service take?

The time of the consultation will depend on the reason and number of vaccinations that are required. Nevertheless, your medical or healthcare professional will take as long as necessary to answer any questions that you may have.

 

Do I have to pay for the service?

Yes. A payment for the service will be taken by the healthcare professional administering the vaccine.

 

Do I have to make an appointment?

This is dependent on the service provider providing the service. Nevertheless, we recommend you to contact the pharmacy prior to ensure that the vaccine is available in stock.

 

How long before travelling internationally should I get vaccinated?

We recommend that those travelling internationally should seek advice for travel vaccination at least 8 weeks before, owing to the fact that some vaccinations require multiple doses for full immunisation. It is important to keep in mind that earlier immunisation will never do any harm, whilst late vaccination may result in insufficient protection.

 

I am going travelling in less than 6 weeks and am seeking advice late, is it worth getting vaccinated?

In circumstances when a traveller has a limited time before departure, there is research to support the use of certain single-dose vaccines, if indicated, to initiate protection. These include hepatitis A (monovalent), typhoid (injectable), polio (inactivated), cholera, and quadrivalent (ACWY) meningococcal meningitis vaccines.

 

If the traveller does not have enough time to complete the full course of a multiple-dose vaccine, such as hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis or rabies, your healthcare professional can consider approved accelerated schedules. If this is not possible due to time-constraints, it is unclear what degree of protection the traveller will have if he does not complete the full series of a multiple-dose vaccination.

 

How long after receiving a vaccine dose will I develop immunity?

The body will usually develop protection to help fight infection within 7-14 days of receiving a vaccination. However, some vaccines such as the hepatitis B or rabies vaccine, require multiple doses that are spread over several weeks to ensure adequate immunity.