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Travel Medicine: The Difference Between Routine, Required, and Recommended Vaccines

March 18, 2024

Travel Medicine: The Difference Between Routine, Required, and Recommended Vaccines

Getting ready to travel and see new things is always exciting. Anticipation builds as your departure date approaches and your trip awaits. However, you need to make sure you will be safe on your upcoming trip. This is where travel medicine comes in. Anyone experienced with international travel already knows how important vaccinations are. If not, let’s look at different travel vaccinations and how they are categorized. 

The Importance of Immunization Before International Travel 

No matter where you are going, there are likely risks associated with your destination. Certain bacteria or viruses are more common in some areas than others. The last thing you want on vacation is to have to be rushed to the hospital because you were exposed to a local virus you weren’t vaccinated against. 

Before your trip, look for “travel medicine near me” to make sure you are getting the right vaccinations for your trip. There are three different classifications of vaccines that you need to be aware of when travelling. Each one of them has different implications and you will see that some vaccines are essential even if you plan on staying in America. 

The Different Vaccine Classifications 

Routine Vaccines 

As the name suggests, a routine vaccine is one that is standard for anyone living in America. These vaccines are given to nearly everyone in the country and are what help Americans stay safe from viruses that are prominent in less developed nations. Most people will already have had these vaccines as they are required or recommended by most employers. 

These vaccines are often given to young children and may provide lifetime protection. Some routine vaccines include polio, Hepatitis B, measles, and tetanus. These vaccines are essential to your health at home and abroad. 

Required Vaccines

Once again, the name here pretty much says it all. To enter certain countries, you will be required to get certain vaccinations.  Some of these vaccines are to prevent the citizens of that country from getting sick and many are to prevent you from catching a local illness. 

For many other developed countries, the required vaccinations are similar to those that are routine in America. However, many developed European countries require you to have additional vaccines like the influenza and tetanus vaccines. Reach out to BASS Primary Care for more specific information before travelling. 

Recommended Vaccines 

Recommended vaccines are unique in that you only need them when traveling to a very specific area. For example, you will probably never need the yellow fever vaccine unless you are travelling to Africa or South America. These vaccines are recommended to act as an added layer of safety when travelling to at-risk zones.

Recommended vaccines are often listed and updated by organizations like the CDC and WHO for travelers. It is important to really consider which vaccines you should get before travelling internationally. Even though these vaccines are often just recommended, it is always better to have that protection in case you come in contact with a virus or bacteria. 

The best way to find the recommended vaccines for your trip is to plan ahead of time and to tell the doctor where you are going. Any trip to areas with potentially harmful viruses or diseases should be planned out so that you have enough time to get the necessary vaccines to travel safely. 


Having so many vaccines to keep track of and think about can be confusing for travelers. Luckily for you, America has some of the best vaccination systems in place to get you what you need before travelling. Call BASS Primary Care at (925) 962-9120 before your next trip to make sure your vaccinations are up to date. 

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.