If you plan to travel outside of France, be aware that certain countries and regions of the world may do so require special vaccines for your children. “It’s interesting to make an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician, especially if you plan to travel to tropical areas,” emphasizes Dr. Yhan Money, family doctor.
Travel: why vaccinate your children?
“It’s important to remember that the Vaccination offers individual protection on the one hand and collective protection on the other. against many diseases and/or serious infections. Vaccines also make it possible to limit the circulation of microbes and prevent serious forms of pathologies such as yellow fever, hepatitis B or rabies,” specifies Dr. Money.
Baby on the move: full vaccination protection
If your holiday destination is in France, be aware that your child’s vaccination schedule must be up to date for their age. The rule is the same when you go abroad. On the other hand, depending on the geographic area of your travel destination and in particular the tropical zone (mainly in Central America, South America, Central and parts of Southern Africa, Oceania, Northern Australia and parts of Indonesia), certain specific vaccinations may be required of you: “You have to distinguish between systematic recommendations and optional recommendations. They depend in particular on the length of your stay and the state of health under which you will be traveling”, specifies Dr. Money.
Yellow fever, a mandatory vaccination
According to the Institut Pasteur website: “Yellow fever vaccination is the only mandatory vaccination for travelers go to an inner-tropical endemic zone in Africa or South America”. This means that your child can be vaccinated from the age of 9 months at an approved body, either at international vaccination centers or at the Pasteur Institute. Your child should receive their injection at least two weeks before you leave.
Hepatitis A vaccine
This viral infection causes symptoms such as jaundice, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. “When it resolves 100% of the time, the symptoms are still severe and sometimes require hospitalization. Therefore, it is better to avoid such problems when traveling to a foreign country.” Babies can be vaccinated against hepatitis A from the age of one and at least two weeks before departure. It is possible to protect infants under the age of one through the use of immunoglobulins, which protect against the virus and its complications. These are effective for 4 to 6 months.
Vaccination against typhoid is recommended if you are going to a country with risky sanitary conditions for a long period of time. It is a bacterial digestive infection (faecal-oral transmission) that causes significant symptoms: fever, abdominal pain in the right iliac fossa (like appendicitis), and diarrhea. This infection can be life-threatening. Children can be vaccinated from 2 years and at least 3 weeks before departure. Note that the protection of this vaccine lasts for three years.
Vaccine against hepatitis B and meningococcal meningitis
As part of the official French vaccination calendar, these two vaccines must be up to date when travelling. Vaccination against hepatitis B is mandatory for all infants born after January 1, 2018. For the latter, the vaccination schedule consists of three doses at the ages of 2 months, 4 months and 11 months. In unvaccinated children aged 11 to 15 years, 2 doses can be given with an interval of 6 months between the 2 doses. Vaccination against meningococcal serogroup C infection is mandatory for infants born from January 1, 2018, with a first dose at 5 months of age and another at 12 months of age. Unvaccinated children up to and including 24 years of age can receive one dose.
The vaccine against rabies
This vaccine, administered in approved vaccination centers and within the Pasteur Institute, provides protection against the rabies virus. According to the Government’s Immunization Information Service website: “Rabies vaccination is recommended for travelers a longer or adventurous stay and in an isolation situation in risk areas (Asia, Africa including North Africa and South America). It is particularly recommended for young children as soon as they can walk.” The vaccination schedule consists of three doses on days 0, 7 and 21 (or 28). Of course, there is no vaccinationavoid approaching wild animals especially in these high-risk areas.
Malaria, a necessary prevention
There is no vaccine against malaria. On the other hand, children may be particularly exposed in certain countries: Mayotte, Guyana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United Republic of Tanzania, Niger, Mozambique and Burkina Faso… Malaria is common in a hundred countries, located in tropical and subtropical areas. Drugs that prevent this disease are expensive and cannot be administered under a certain weight. Therefore, “it is important to protect yourself from mosquitoes in these risk areas,” says Dr. Money.
The family doctor points out: “Vaccination and the fact of being vaccinated do not release you from the strict observance of hygiene measures like washing your hands frequently, not drinking water anywhere and paying attention to what you eat abroad.”