Travellers from the UK are more likely than some of their international counterparts to miss out on a full schedule of hepatitis A and hepatitis A/B vaccination before they go on holiday to countries where the disease is prevalent, according to results from a survey on travel health1.
Just 14 per cent of British people who were given the first dose of a combined hepatitis A and B vaccination went on to receive the full three or four doses, the first two or three of which are usually given before travel2. This compares with an average of 32 per cent of travellers from some other countries3 receiving the full vaccination schedule.
The GSK survey also revealed that of the people who did not complete their vaccination schedule, 17 per cent said they did not have enough time to do so before going on holiday and 12 per cent simply forgot.
Hepatitis leads to the inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by a viral infection and sometimes becomes a chronic condition, which is why prevention is important4.
Results also showed that understanding health risks abroad was not top of the list of priorities for holidaymakers, with people spending more than double the amount of time researching hotels as they did researching potential health risks associated with their destination and the precautions they need to take5.
Dr Peter Basile, medical advisor for GSK, said: “Some people may be tempted by last-minute holiday deals this month. But our survey has revealed that they may be forgetting to think about their health when booking these holidays, and people often leave too little time to get the advice and vaccinations they need to protect themselves from diseases while abroad.
“It’s important people are aware that they should visit their GP or travel health clinic ideally at least a month before going on holiday, if they’re travelling to places where vaccinations are recommended.”
1 GSK commissioned research from August/September 2013.
2 In exceptional circumstances in adults, for example if travel departure is within a month after starting the vaccination course and there is not enough time for the standard 0, 1, 6 month schedule to be completed, a quicker schedule of three injections at 0, 7 and 21 days may be used. If you are given this faster course, it is recommended that you then have a fourth dose 12 months after your first dose of the vaccine. Net Doctor. Last accessed January 2014.
3 Germany, Australia, Sweden, Norway and Finland
4 NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Hepatitis/Pages/Introduction.aspx Last accessed January 2014.
5 GSK commissioned research from August/September 2013. UK respondents spent an average of 2.2 hours spent researching local health risks and recommendations for precautions and an average of 4.7 hours researching hotel/accommodation.