Vaccinations for Turkey
Have you had your travel vaccinations?
Turkey is an incredibly popular holiday destination for British people, and generally very safe to visit. If you are planning a trip there, however, you will need to take certain precautions to ensure your health is protected, both before you go and once you have arrived.
Some of the risk factors associated with a trip to Turkey include sunburn, food poisoning, and insect bites (although malaria is not a concern in this country). If you visit certain mountainous areas you will need to make sure that you are familiar with altitude sickness, which can be life-threatening.
For an up to date vaccination summary enter your trip details into our Vaccination Checker.
Do you need any vaccinations to go to Turkey?
Usually, visitors to Turkey from the UK are advised to get at least one vaccination. The current guidance is that travellers to Turkey from the UK should make sure they are up to date on all their routine immunisations (click here for a list).
Routine immunisations are given to you as a baby and while you are at school; you can find out which vaccinations you have received by requesting a record from your GP.
Once you have made sure you are up to date on routine immunisations, it is recommended that you receive the tetanus booster. This will offer protection against tetanus bacteria, which are found in soil and animal manure. Tetanus can get into the body through open wounds, and cause muscle stiffness and painful spasms.
If you are up to date on all your routine immunisations, you will only need a booster of the tetanus vaccine. If you are not up to date, it is likely that you will need to have up to three doses of the vaccine before you leave, and more when you return to complete the course.
The tetanus booster is usually administered to travellers as part of the diphtheria, polio & tetanus booster. This offers protection against all three diseases.
Further vaccines to consider
Depending upon where you plan to travel to in Turkey, and what kinds of activities you will be participating in, you may also consider receiving the vaccines for the following diseases:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
After carrying out a bespoke risk assessment your healthcare practitioner will decide if you require these vaccines.
If you think that you might spend time in an area with poor sanitation, where you may be at risk of consuming contaminated food you should consider getting the hepatitis A & typhoid vaccine. Both of these diseases are spread in the faeces of an infected person; when small particles of infected faeces get into water supplies or onto food, you can be at risk of infection.
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that attacks the liver; most people recover within a few months, but in some cases it can lead to permanent damage. Typhoid causes a fever, stomach pains and constipation or diarrhoea, and can lead to internal bleeding if it is not treated.
If you think that you might have unprotected sex, share injecting equipment, get a body piercing or tattoo, or receive dental or medical care in an unhygienic environment whilst in Turkey, you should consider getting the hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B is spread in blood and bodily fluids and can, in certain cases, lead to complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
If you think you might spend time amongst wild animals whilst in Turkey, you should consider getting the rabies vaccine. Rabies is a serious viral infection that is nearly always fatal. It is usually spread to humans by the bite or scratch of an infected dog, although many other animals can carry the virus. Getting vaccinated means that the emergency treatment you receive (in the event you are bitten or scratched) is far simpler.
How do I get my injections for Turkey?
You can get a number of vaccinations for free from your GP. The following vaccines are usually available for free on the NHS:
- Hepatitis A & typhoid vaccine (one injection)
- Diphtheria, polio & tetanus booster (one injection)
The hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines can be administered separately. If you wish, you may be able to take a version of the typhoid vaccine in capsule form, and not receive it as an injection.
The pricing of the hepatitis B and rabies vaccines varies. Both of these vaccines require three injections over the course of about four weeks.
The hepatitis B and rabies vaccines are not usually available on the NHS. Your GP may still be able to administer them, but they won’t be free. If your GP cannot administer them, you can use a private service such as MASTA.
How long before I travel do I need vaccinations?
It’s important to get vaccinated 6-8 weeks before your trip to Turkey. This is because when you receive a vaccine, your immune system needs enough time to create the antibodies that will protect you whilst you’re travelling. Don’t be tempted to leave your vaccination appointment to the last minute as this will leave you at risk of not being fully protected. This may also mean that any side effects experienced from the vaccination will happen during your travels, not before.
To find out more about the diseases and vaccines described above, visit MASTA Travel Health.You can also consult Travel Health Pro and the NHS site Fit for Travel to read more about the current vaccine recommendations. For a personalised health summary for your holiday enter your travel details into our Vaccination Checker.