Vaccinations for Mexico
If you’re planning a trip to Mexico from the UK – whether for work or leisure – it’s important that you keep in mind certain health precautions.
While in Mexico, you should practise mosquito bite prevention, be cautious about altitude sickness when travelling through mountainous areas, and be careful with what you eat and drink in areas with poor sanitation.
What shots do you need for Mexico?
Before leaving for Mexico, you may also need to receive some vaccinations. You should make an appointment with a travel clinic or consult a doctor around six to eight weeks before you leave to discuss which vaccinations you will need. This is because some vaccines must be administered over the course of several weeks.
To find out which vaccinations are normally recommended for people visiting Mexico from the UK, read on. You can also use our Vaccine Checker.
Routine British immunisations
Before you speak to a doctor or travel clinic about receiving travel vaccines, it’s important to make sure that you’re up to date on your routine British immunisations. Most immunisations are administered to babies, young children and teenagers, although some are given to adults (particularly to people who work in jobs with health risks).
To find out whether you are up to date on your routine immunisations, you should speak to your GP; they can provide you with a record of the vaccines you have received.
Recommended vaccinations for Mexico
Once you are up to date on your British vaccinations, you can speak to a doctor about receiving your travel vaccinations for Mexico.
The two vaccines typically recommended for travellers to Mexico are hepatitis A and tetanus. Depending on the nature of your trip your healthcare professional may advise that you consider the typhoid vaccine.
Is a viral infection that attacks the liver, normally causing unpleasant symptoms for a few months. It can initially cause flu-like symptoms and later jaundice, itchy skin and swelling and tenderness around the liver. Hepatitis A is spread in the faeces of an infected person (often via contaminated food and water) and the risk is highest in areas of Mexico with poor sanitation.
The hepatitis A vaccine can be administered on its own, or in combination with one other vaccine: either hepatitis B or typhoid.
Is a bacterial infection that gets into the skin through open wounds. It can affect the nerves, causing painful spasms and stiffness in the muscles. Tetanus is often found in soil and animal manure; you may be particularly at risk of tetanus infection if you are planning on spending time outdoors, working on the land or with animals.
The tetanus vaccine is often administered to travellers as part of the diphtheria, polio and tetanus booster. If you have never received the tetanus vaccine you may require up to three doses before you leave for Mexico, and more when you return.
Is a bacterial infection that can cause a fever, stomach pain and diarrhoea or constipation. In some cases, when left untreated, it can cause serious complications such as internal bleeding in the digestive system. Typhoid is spread in the faeces (and sometimes the urine) of an infected person. In areas of Mexico with poor sanitation, food and water can become contaminated and typhoid can spread.
The typhoid vaccine can be administered either on its own as a single injection, in combination with the hepatitis A vaccine (as a single injection), or as three capsules which are swallowed.
Other injections for Mexico
The three diseases listed above pose the biggest risk to travellers visiting Mexico. However you might also consider receiving the vaccines for diphtheria and rabies.
Is a bacterial infection spread in droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled in coughs and sneezes. It can cause a fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing; in more severe cases, diphtheria causes life-threatening complications such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscles). Diphtheria vaccination is recommended if you anticipate spending a lot of time in poor, overcrowded areas of Mexico.
If you have received all of your routine British immunisations, the simplest way to remain protected is to receive the diphtheria, polio and tetanus booster, which will protect you against all three diseases.
Is a serious viral infection which is nearly always fatal without vaccination and emergency treatment. The rabies virus is usually transmitted via the bite or scratch of an infected animal (normally a dog); people who develop rabies symptoms usually die from the disease. If you are bitten or scratched by an infected animal, you will need emergency treatment, whether you have received the vaccine or not. Treatment is easier to administer if you have already had the full course of the vaccine.
You should receive the vaccine in three separate injections over the course of a month. If you have previously received the full vaccine you can get a rabies booster, which is administered in one injection.
The rabies vaccine/booster is recommended if you anticipate spending time around wild animals during your stay in Mexico, particularly if you’re in an area with limited access to medical facilities.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection which is spread in blood and bodily fluids. If you have unprotected sex, get a tattoo or body piercing, or receive medical or dental treatment in an unhygienic environment you may be at risk of contracting Heb B while in Mexico.
Hepatitis B attacks the liver, initially causing flu-like symptoms and jaundice. Most people recover fully within a few months, but some develop chronic hepatitis which can lead to serious complications such as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
The hepatitis B vaccine is administered as three injections over the course of three to six months or several weeks depending on the current vaccination practise carried out at your time of travel. It can be given on its own or in combination with the hepatitis A vaccine.
What are the early signs of hepatitis B?
Typically, those with hepatitis B will experience no symptoms or early signs, however these can develop after a month or so after you have been infected. You can find out more about the symptoms of hepatitis B here.
Where to receive your Mexico vaccinations
There are many different services in the UK where you can receive your jabs for Mexico. You can usually receive the diphtheria, polio and tetanus booster, and the hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines on the NHS. You can make an appointment with your GP and receive the injections for free.
Travel vaccines are also available privately through services such as MASTA travel clinics. If you want to receive the rabies vaccine or booster you will usually have to get it privately.
Don’t forget to enter your holiday details into our Vaccination Checker for your own travel health summary and recommended clinic.