It looks like travellers are just as reckless as some parents about vaccinations

Chris Campbell

People give parents who don’t vaccinate their kids a lot of grief.

And deservedly so.

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But let’s not expend all of our scorn on parents who put the health of their children – and others – at risk.

No, save a little for certain travelers.

According to a new poll, the majority (78%) of British Columbians believe that travelling outside of Canada puts them at risk for a number of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Despite this, only half (54%) of those who have previously travelled overseas say they have ever received a vaccination for travel. Just one in three (35%) are aware that the Government of Canada recommends that Canadians visit a travel clinic before travelling.

The findings are part of a survey conducted by Insights West on behalf of London Drugs and they are disturbing.

How can people travel overseas and not get vaccinated? I once went to Russia and made sure to get every shot known to humankind.

“The measles vaccine is the best way to prevent the spread of this highly contagious virus. If you're planning an international trip, or if you are unsure of your immunization status, get vaccinated before travelling," says Lily Liang, a Travel Clinic Pharmacist at London Drugs.

More than a quarter (27%) of survey respondents say they did not receive vaccination for travel because they did not feel it was necessary. Despite this, nine in ten (91%) British Columbians say they strongly believe that travel vaccinations and medications protect themselves and others when travelling and six in ten (63%) agree that it is important to review their immunization history before travelling.

So people understand vaccinations protect themselves – they’re just too lazy to get them.

Or perhaps they are just confused, according to Liang.

“The results seem contradictory but the reemergence of vaccine-preventable diseases has caused some concern and confusion about vaccination. It is particularly important for those planning to travel internationally to get vaccinated,” advises Liang. “Beyond the serious health threats of not being vaccinated, travelling without them can really ruin a holiday if you or your loved ones become sick. No one wants to spend their vacation at a doctor’s clinic or hospital in a foreign country.”

It's great advice. But how many will take it?

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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