Other vaccines

Other vaccines are licensed in South Africa and used in particular situations, such as for travellers or for post-exposure prophylaxis. A brief overview is given below, with links to appropriate sources for further information.

Travel vaccines

Examples of vaccines that may be recommended to travellers include cholera vaccine, yellow fever vaccine, typhoid fever vaccine, Hepatitis A vaccine and meningococcal vaccine. These are vaccines targeted for individuals who travel to a geographic location that has diseases not routinely found in their home country. Vaccinating before you leave lessens the risk of getting the disease when you are on your trip. It may also prevent you carrying the disease back home to your community. Vaccination doesn’t replace healthy practices, such as treating dirty water, cleaning fruits and vegetables before cooking and avoiding potentially contaminated foods and water. Always remember “boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it!”

For vaccination guidelines for travellers to or from South Africa, consult the following sources:
– WHO
SANTHNET

Post-exposure prophylaxis vaccines

Some vaccines are not included in the universal vaccination schedule for all infants, but are available if a person is exposed to a certain infection. Examples include the rabies vaccine given after injury from an animal that may have rabies. Often a preparation of antibodies taken from individuals who have recovered from the disease is available. These “hyperimmune globulins” are very expensive and in limited supply. Immune globulins will only be used in specific circumstances of high risk – for example varicella immune globulin may be used for chickenpox exposure in a person with a weakened immune system. Hepatitis B immune globulin for a baby born to a mother with hepatitis B or a health care worker with a needle stick injury. A commonly used immune globulin is rabies immune globulin – this is given to people bitten or scratched by an animal who may have rabies, in addition to a course of rabies vaccines. The rabies immunoglobulin used in South Africa is prepared from immunised individuals.

Vaccines for specific groups

There are many other vaccines recommended for specific target groups, such as transplant recipients or those without a functioning spleen. People in certain occupations such as health workers, veterinarians or sewerage workers may require additional vaccinations. There are certain vaccines available in the private sector for elderly individuals. Please consult your doctor for individual information if required.

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