Tips & Resources

Canadians! Making Travel Plans? Plan Your Travel Vaccinations Too

By James Daw, Contributing Writer

Want to avoid disease while travelling? This brief guide lists the diseases that healthy adults can avoid with vaccination, as well as the locations where protection may either be recommended or required. The sample vaccine fees, provided by a national pharmacy chain,* apply to adults and exclude the cost of providing an injection. Only Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres designated by the Public Health Agency of Canada may administer yellow fever vaccines. Links to the lists of designated clinics in each province are provided below. Please note that this chart is no substitute for professional advice. You should see a physician about the appropriate vaccines for you and your family, both for life in Canada and when travelling to other countries.

Diseases to be Avoided &
Locations with Disease Risk

Proof Required

Sample Prices*
(injection cost is extra)

Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Diphtheria: Rare in Canada, but occurs all over world; fatal in 5% to 10% of cases.

Tetanus: Occurs worldwide and the highest rates of fatality are among infants and the elderly.

Pertussis: Children are most at risk in poor nations with low rates of vaccination, but declining rates of vaccination has led to an increase of infections among adolescents even in the United States and France. The vaccine for pertussis is now recommended for adults, including seniors.

N/A

-Provinces pay for the vaccine and injection for
residents with health cards
-Price without coverage is $44.47

Measles/Mumps/Rubella

Measles: Still common and deadly for children, particularly in Africa and Asia.
 
Mumps: Seventy-four countries do not immunize for mumps, which can be fatal to adults.

Rubella: Sixty-two countries do not immunize residents.

N/A

-Provinces pay for the vaccine and injection for
residents with health cards
-Price without coverage is $45.35

Polio

Occurs locally in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan; other countries have had outbreaks. Other priority countries are Angola, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends: “Unimmunized or incompletely immunized travellers should receive diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-polio-Hib-containing vaccine as appropriate for age.”

Saudi Arabia

N/A

Pneumonia

A risk around the world, pneumonia is caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under five, dangerous for the elderly, and leads to thousands of hospitalizations in Canada each year.

N/A

-Not all provinces pay for the vaccine Pneumovax 23, but some do; most will pay to vaccinate at-risk individuals
-Price without coverage is $33.75 -Newer vaccines Prevnar and Prevnar 13
cost $113.90

Influenza

All travellers are encouraged to get Canada’s approved seasonal influenza vaccine, but vaccines for the southern hemisphere are not available in Canada and may not be as effective in some countries.

N/A

-Provinces pay for the vaccine and injection for
residents with health cards
-Price without coverage ranges from
$23.79 to $121.72

Yellow Fever (each 10 years)

Countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission include Trinidad, Panama,
most of South America, and Africa.

(See list of yellow fever vaccination centres below.)

Angola
Benin
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Central African Republic
Republic of the
Congo,
Côte d’Ivoire
Democratic Republic of Congo
French Guiana
Gabon
Ghana
Guinea-Bissau
Liberia
Mali
Niger
Rwanda
São Tomé and Príncipe
Sierra Leone
Togo
Details by country

$90

Meningococcal Disease

Meningitis occurs locally but rarely in Canada, sporadically around the world, and in epidemics, mainly in the savannah areas of sub-Saharan Africa from Gambia and Senegal in the west to Ethiopia and Western Eritrea in the east.

Saudi Arabia and sub-Saharan Africa

$130

Hepatitis A / Hepatitis B

Hepatitis A occurs worldwide, but the number of cases in Canada has been falling. Many other countries have moderate to high risk of infection from food handling and close contact. Fewer than 1% of residents in Canada   carry the Hepatitis B virus, but 2% to to 20% carry it in many other countries.

N/A

-Twinrix for Hep A and B costs $203.61
for three doses
-Hep A is only
$125.64 for two doses
-Hep B ranges from $76.14 to $114.18 for three doses

Cholera / Traveller's Diarrhea

A risk for travellers and relief workers who may drink or eat contaminated water or food, in particular undercooked or raw shellfish and fish may result in cholera infection. Cholera outbreaks occurred in Zimbabwe in 2009 and Haiti in 2010. Vaccination offers some additional protection from traveller’s diarrhea, which is quite common.

N/A

$83.20

Japanese Encephalitis

Rare in travellers, the disease is decreasing in China, Korea, and Japan, but increasing in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, northern Thailand, and Vietnam. The risk of infection rises in late summer and early fall. Vaccination may be recommended for long or repeated visits. See the table of country risk factors here: Yellow Book.

N/A

$478.28
for two doses

Rabies

A potentially fatal disease transmitted by animals. Vaccination is recommended for long or frequent travel and visits to countries or regions with rabid wildlife and poor levels of care for infection. 

N/A

$643.38
for three doses

Tick-Borne Encephalitis

A risk for travel to Europe and Asia, from eastern France to Northern China and Japan.

N/A

-$315 for three doses quoted at one trip clinic
-Many travellers only need two doses

Typhoid Fever

A risk during long visits or while working in small cities, villages, or rural areas or while living with families in such typhoid-affected regions as the Asian regions of the former USSR, parts of South and South-East Asia, Africa, and South America.   

N/A

$38.80 to $41.26

Chicken Pox (Varicella)

Occurs worldwide, mostly among children younger than 12 years old; can be dangerous for adults and painful if it results in the skin infection known as shingles or Herpes Zoster.

N/A

$195.85

Human Papillomavirus

A vaccine is now used widely for adults. The disease can cause cancers in men and women, and is also a major cause of anal and genital warts.

N/A

$118.24 to $177.66

Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada, World Health Organization, Shopper’s Drug Mart, travel clinic websites

*Prices for all but the meningitis vaccine were provided by a Shopper’s Drug Mart pharmacy in Toronto. Travel clinics may charge more or less, plus a fee to administer the injection. Clinics may also charge a consultation fee. For those vaccines not covered by your provincial health ministry, your group or personal medical insurance may pay the cost, so you would be wise to check.

Locating Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres

Vaccinations are only available at centres the Public Health Agency of Canada has determined are equipped to store the vaccine and are qualified to provide travellers with the documentation they will need to enter certain countries. Click on your province or territory below to find a centre near you.

Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
Newfoundland and Labrador
New Brunswick
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon

Nunavut currently does not have clinics that have been approved to administer the Yellow Fever vaccine. Contact your regional health authority for more information.