Travel vaccinations might be the last thing on Britons minds after booking their dream vacation to a far-flung destination, and getting started on their holiday wardrobe. Yet Ben Fogle, adventurer, explorer and TV presenter, has insisted it should be the very first. Ben – who has travelled everywhere from the Amazon to Africa and climbed Mount Everest in 2018, has told how he makes sure he is “fully inoculated” for every trip – because the consequences may be even more costly. He has partnered with Doctor Christian Jessen for a project with Sanofi Pasteur to encourage UK holidaymakers to seek health advice before travelling overseas.
His comments come as their survey revealed just 17 per cent have a risk assessment, or chat to a doctor about variations, before heading abroad.
Ben told Express.co.uk part of the issue was that of the grey area around vaccinations yet insisted, at the crux of it all, travellers need to take responsibility.
He bluntly said: “There’s only so much Dr Google can do.
“A lot of people assume you pick a geographical location and work out whether you need something or not but it’s much more nuanced that that – you need to work out if you are going to rural, urban areas, if you are going to interact with animals, are you going in the wet or dry season?
“There are so many variables that affect the sorts of illness.
“If you are travelling overseas you should take insurance in the form of vaccines.
“In my mind, that is what a vaccine is, an insurance against picking up diseases.
“I personally think it is an obvious thing to do.”
Ben, 45, made it clear he wanted to urge people to travel – but to be more responsible about it, especially as more than half of the people surveyed said innoculation costs – some of which are not available on the NHS – had prevented them from getting adequate protection before going overseas.
Ben said: “If someone is willing to spend money going on a holiday they are already investing in the flight, but you have to change your mindset, as it’s more complex than that.
“You have to accept if you have to spend an extra £30 on an inoculation it is worth it.
“People are prepare to buy a new swimming costume and new sunglasses, but actually your own health is way more important.
“I would say use those old sunglasses you have used for the last few years – don’t get caught up in materialism and take the injection instead, people have to prioritise a little better.
“This is not about scaring people away from travel – people will always travel and I love the fact that people travel – it’s about being more sensible about mitigating those risks by having the relevant vaccines.”
Adding to his comments Ben, who cites the west of Portugal as his favourite short haul destination – added people should think twice about travelling altogether, if they cannot afford subsequent healthcare costs if illness strikes.
He told Express.co.uk: “You need to plan how you are going to pay for those medical expenses if you find yourself in a foreign country
you can’t call up the foreign office and call help
“You have to take responsibility, that’s what this comes down to and I am quite militant about that.
“If you are going to these foreign places, which I would encourage so many people to do – you have to take some sort of self responsibility.
“So having a health risk assessment, taking insurance out and making sure you can be treated is as important as getting that flight.
“Theres no point even get on the plane if you can’t afford the other stuff.”
Published at Sun, 30 Jun 2019 07:01:00 +0000