Remember to check your vaccinations before travelling abroad! Hepatitis A and B vaccinations that protect against infectious liver diseases are the most common vaccinations required by travellers. A single vaccine provides protection against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. There is no vaccine against hepatitis C.
How to get vaccinated against hepatitis
You can book an appointment for vaccination against hepatitis A or against both hepatitis A and B online or by calling our customer service.
Vaccines are also available in most locations without an appointment. Please check if your preferred location provides vaccination services by calling our customer service.
Hepatitis A vaccination
The hepatitis A vaccination protocol involves administering two doses of the vaccine, the second dose being administered 6–12 months after the first dose. No additional vaccines against hepatitis A are required as, according to current knowledge, the two doses provide lifelong protection. Immunity develops 2–4 weeks after the first dose. In order to provide maximum protection, the first dose should be administered at least two weeks before going abroad. A second dose of the vaccine provides lifelong immunity.
Hepatitis A is a viral liver infection that is usually associated with long-term and intense symptoms, especially in adults. Pre-schoolers usually experience a milder form of the disease, but small children can carry the virus for a long time, spreading it to other people. Sources of hepatitis A infection include food and drinking water infected by the virus, vegetables washed and ice cubes made with contaminated water and undercooked shellfish and oysters. The infection can be transmitted from one person to another through contact with dirty hands or toilet facilities. The possibility of becoming infected must be taken into account when travelling to developing countries, countries south or east of the Mediterranean and the Baltic Countries, in particular. The hepatitis A vaccine provides a very high level of protection against infection.
Hepatitis B is a viral liver infection that can be transmitted via exposure to infected blood. Hepatitis B and C infections can be prevented by avoiding direct contact with infected blood and avoiding “risky behaviour” (intravenous drug use, unprotected sex, tattoos and piercings performed with unsterile equipment, used needles or other medical equipment in hospitals of developing countries). Some patients are diagnosed with the disease will remain carries of the virus. This is common among small children, in particular. Some carriers will develop a chronic liver infection, which increases the risk of liver cirrhosis or liver cancer significantly.
Although spreading a hepatitis B infection is relatively difficult, approximately one in thirteen people all over the world carry the disease. As the disease has severe consequences, a vaccine against is included in the vaccination programme of children and it is considered to be a necessary travel vaccination, especially for young people.
Hepatitis A and B vaccine
The hepatitis A and B vaccination protocol involves three doses. The second dose is administered one month after the first dose and the third dose is administered six months after the first dose. According to current knowledge, additional vaccines after the third dose are not required.
Malaria and other vaccines for travellers
The need for travel vaccinations and prophylactic malaria medication depends on the destination. The range of required vaccines depends on the destination, the type of accommodation and whether you are travelling to an urban or rural environment. Basic vaccines used in Finland include the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine, and immunity against these diseases should always be maintained. A polio booster vaccine is required if you are travelling to a country where polio is present. Hepatitis A vaccine is also a basic vaccine for travellers.
Depending on how exotic the destination is and other elements of the journey, a vaccine against hepatitis B or hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, Japanese B encephalitis or yellow fever or a meningococcal vaccine might be required. Some countries may require an official certification of vaccination against yellow fever.
Vaccination against rabies is rarely required. These vaccines may be required if you travel outside the typical tourist areas where the diseases are prevalent or in less developed conditions.
If you intend to travel to an archipelago or an area where ticks are commonly encountered, it might be necessary to be vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis.
A prophylactic medication against malaria is recommended in certain countries or parts of countries. A prescription for this medication can be given by a doctor.
If you are travelling to an exotic destination outside Europe, please check if you need to be vaccinated against any of the following diseases:
• yellow fever (might be required for travelling to certain countries)
• Japanese B encephalitis
• typhoid fever
• meningococcal diseases.
Travel vaccinations for children
Children aged 6–12 months are recommended to be vaccinated at least against the diseases in the national vaccination programme, i.e. diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella, and to be administered an additional early dose of MMR vaccines before going abroad on a holiday. A doctor should be consulted on whether a small child requires additional vaccines.
Learn more about the recommendations for different destinations on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare website.
Learn more: Vaccinations for children and babies
Vaccinations provided by Mehiläinen
The range of services provided by Mehiläinen also includes vaccination counselling and administering a variety of vaccines. You can access the services of a doctor specialised in travel and a vaccination nurse at most of our locations in order to receive the latest information and a personal vaccination plan for the vaccines required in your destination country. The Travel Clinic service, accessible through the OmaMehiläinen service, can be used to check the need for vaccines and medications required in your destination country with the assistance of a nurse specialised in travel medicine.
Several vaccination protocols involve more than one dose of the vaccine, and the more exotic your destination is, the earlier the immunisation should be initiated. If you are travelling to a tropical country, you should begin the immunisation a couple of months before your departure. If you are travelling to a nearby destination, only two weeks are required for the immunisation process prior to your journey.
Vaccines are administered at nearly all Mehiläinen clinics. A nurse or a public health nurse can administer vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A and B at most Mehiläinen locations without an appointment. If you are pregnant, allergic or use any special medications, a doctor must administer the vaccine. You should bring details of your vaccination history with you.
Information about the vaccines administered at Mehiläinen and their periods of effectiveness are conveniently available in OmaMehiläinen.
Every autumn, new influenza vaccines are developed to combat the current season’s influenza viruses, and they should be administered by the end of November, before the start of the epidemic.