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A small jab – with a huge effect

In all parts of the world, the immune system of tourists and immigrants faces various challenges. Vaccinations against certain bacterial and viral pathogens help to protect against infections and prevent epidemics. In Germany, the cost of certain vaccinations is refunded by statutory health funds, like the AOK Niedersachsen. The statutory health funds also provide assistance in connection with the costs of recommended travel vaccinations which protect against infectious tropical diseases.

Do I need vaccinations if I live in Germany?

In Germany, vaccinations are generally voluntary, but they are recommended by the German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) and are considered to be necessary to ensure widespread immunisation of the population. The recommended vaccinations covered by the statutory health funds for babies and infants include the primary immunisation against rotavirus, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, severe meningitis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, pneumococcus, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and meningococcal C. The paediatrician will inform parents about the next vaccinations due and enter the vaccinations administered in the vaccination certificate. During the teenage years, some vaccinations must be refreshed. It is recommended that girls between the age of 9 and 17 are vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer.

Adults should regularly review their vaccination status and get boosters against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis every 10 years. It is therefore important that you always keep your vaccination certificate at hand! Vaccinations are generally administered at the GP practice.

What do I have to take into account when I plan to go on holiday or visit my home country?

Vaccination recommendations vary considerably from one country to another. Some countries even require vaccinations and will not allow you to enter without proof of such vaccinations. Your GP’s advice is indispensable if you plan to travel. The recommendations depend, among other things, on a person’s individual health situation and the duration of the stay abroad. Please see the helpful overview of the recommended and required vaccinations for all countries: www.fit-for-travel.de. The Lower Saxon statutory health fund, AOK Niedersachsen, refunds 80% of the costs – up to € 250 per annum – for travel vaccinations recommended by the Standing Committee on Vaccination and the Federal Foreign Office.

Would you like to know more about the topic of vaccinations? Further information in German is available here: niedersachsen.aok.de/impfen

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