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Vaccinations for Afghanistan

There are no compulsory vaccinations for Afghanistan when travelling directly from Ireland. It should be noted that if your passport shows that you have travelled via a yellow fever endemic country then the immigration authorities in Afghanistan will usually check to see that you have received adequate vaccination cover against that disease.

Afghanistan is one of the few countries reporting cases of Poliomyelitis.

For most standard tourists or short-term business travellers to Afghanistan the usual recommended vaccines include cover against the childhood diseases (Polio, Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) as well as cover against the food borne diseases of Typhoid and Hepatitis A. Vaccination against Meningococcal Meningitis is frequently recommended especially if you will be in larger gatherings of people or using public transport. For those trekking or travelling to Afghanistan for an extended period then vaccination cover against Hepatitis B and Rabies should be considered.

Most travellers should start their vaccines about 4 to 6 weeks before they leave Ireland. However those planning a longer visit, or where their planned trip is likely to bring them to more rural parts of Afghanistan, should attend earlier to ensure that they have sufficient time to complete the travel vaccine courses.

Malaria prophylaxis may need to be considered depending on your itinerary.

All Travellers

Poliomyelitis
Poliomyelitis is a viral disease transmitted through oral/faecal contamination and the respiratory route. The vaccine is combined with cover against Tetanus and Diphtheria. Most travellers who have completed their primary course of childhood vaccines will only require a single booster dose to provide cover. Once completed it is expected that cover should last for 10 years.
Tetanus
Tetanus is contracted through contaminated cuts, bites and breaks in the skin. The vaccination provides cover for approximately 10 years in the majority of patients. It is frequently combined with cover against other diseases such as Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria and/or Pertussis.
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a common disease in many of the hotter regions of the world and usually contracted through contaminated food and water. Cover against Hepatitis A can be given alone or combined with protection against Typhoid or Hepatitis B. Once completed, the Hepatitis A vaccination (given on two occasions 6 to 12 months apart) provides cover for approximately 25 years in the majority of patients.
Typhoid
Typhoid is a bacterial disease contracted through contaminated food and water. This vaccine can be combined with cover against Hepatitis A. Once completed, the Typhoid vaccination given on one occasion provides cover for between 2 to 3 years in the majority of patients

Optional

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a viral disease which is usually transmitted in a very similar fashion to HIV/AIDS through contact with infected body fluids (eg blood exposure and sexually). This vaccine can be combined with cover against Hepatitis A. The standard schedule for Hepatitis B is to administer the vaccine on days 0, 28 and 180. A more rapid schedule can be used in cases where cover is needed more urgently and this is administered on days 0, 7, 21 to 28 and also 365. Following either course (and not before completion) a blood test can be taken to confirm sufficient antibody protection. Where the correct level of antibodies are showing (>100iu) the vaccination is recognised to provide cover for life.
Rabies
Rabies is a viral disease which is usually transmitted through the bite, the lick or the scratch of any infected warm blooded animal. The vaccine is usually administered on days 0, 7 and between 21 to 28. A final 4th vaccine is administered about 1 year later. Once a course is completed, the vaccination provides life long 'immune memory' in the majority of patients BUT after any possible exposure the individual always needs further vaccination to boost antibody production
Meningococcal Meningitis
Meningococcal Meningitis is a bacterial disease which is usually transmitted through the respiratory route. The vaccine is given on one occasion and provides cover against four of the main forms of this disease. Once a course is completed the vaccination provides for over 5 years in the majority of patients.
Cholera
Cholera / E coli are both food / water borne diseases. This oral vaccine is given on two occasions between 1 to 6 weeks apart before travel. The second dose (frequently given one week after the initial one) should be administered 7 days before potential exposure. Once completed the cover against Cholera is expected to be for about 2 years. The cover against E coli is shorter and thought to be effective for between 3 to 4 months. In travellers who have completed an initial primary course within the past 2 years a single further dose is sufficient to maintain this cover.
Influenza
Influenza is a viral disease transmitted through the respiratory route and is very infectious. The vaccine should be given each year in autumn and provides cover for approximately one year.
Pertussis
Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is a viral disease transmitted mainly through coughs and sneezes (respiratory route). The vaccine is usually given during childhood schedules but coverage in adults can wane and so a booster dose is frequently recommended during pregnancy (to protect the unborn child) and also in those over 50 years of age.
There is a low risk of malaria below 2000m from May to November. There is a very low risk of malaria in this part of the country during the rest of the year.

Country Profile

Find out more about the health risks you should be aware of when travelling in Afghanistan by reading the DFA Afghanistan country information page
or the WHO Afghanistan country information page.