Planning a Mission Trip – Remember Immunizations - Pella Regional Health Center

Published on April 01, 2019

Planning a Mission Trip – Remember Immunizations

PELLA, Iowa— Physicians at Pella Regional Health Center’s family of medical clinics recommend checking immunization suggestions and requirements up to 9 months ahead of scheduled international travel for mission trips, or as soon as possible. Many of the needed immunizations require multiple shots over a period of time. Being well-prepared gives adequate time to receive needed immunizations and the greatest amount of protection.

“The first step once you know you will be traveling abroad is to schedule a travel physical with your provider,” said Amanda Yarkosky, RN, BSN, at Pella Regional. “It is really important to get the proper immunizations that are specific to your travel destination while at your appointment. Your doctor will also make sure you are up-to-date on routine immunizations and also check your health in general to make sure you are healthy before going abroad.”

As a mission volunteer or international traveler, you may be exposed to more health risks than the average person. Many times, volunteers travel to more remote areas of underdeveloped countries. The sanitation, food preparations and health care will be sub-standard to what are familiar. Even the most careful traveler can become ill.

“Even access to clean water is something you need to think about while traveling to a location that is underdeveloped,” said Yarkosky. “There are immunizations that will keep you from becoming ill due to sanitary conditions that you would not be used to at home.”

When planning a mission trip, it is important to include pre-trip medical preparations in the planning. Travelers should review the immunizations required and recommended for the area that is being visited, based on the time of year, length of stay and activities involved.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) web site at is a great place to find out where problems are with disease, outbreaks, warnings and knowledge of immunizations. You can choose your destination and the reason for traveling and it will bring you to a list of immunizations and why they are recommended. Recommendations and requirements are constantly updated.