Travel advice

From 2 March 2020

From 2 March 2020 you will need to pay for some aspects of travel healthcare

What do I have to pay for?

From 2 Mar 20 you will need to pay for some vaccinations for personal travel. You will also need to pay for medications to prevent malaria and altitude sickness for personal travel. Personal travel includes holidays, visits to see family overseas and school trips.

What will continue to be free?

The following services will continue to be free, and you can access them in the usual way:

  • Personal travel vaccinations and antimalarials for military personnel
  • Travel health advice
  • Sexual health advice including free condoms and long-acting contraceptives for travel
  • The following vaccinations for personal travel for all patients: Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Cholera
  • Vaccinations and medication required for deployments and occupational (work-related) reasons
  • Routine childhood vaccinations
  • The seasonal flu vaccine for eligible patients

Why do I have to pay?

  • Defence Primary Healthcare has mandated that patients overseas who do not have access to a UK standard travel health clinic can have their travel health medications provided, but that they must pay a prescription charge towards this treatment
  • Most travel health vaccinations are not available on the NHS

Do I have to pay a charge for every vaccine I receive?

Some vaccines require more than one administration (dose) to complete the course. You will need to pay one prescription charge per course for these vaccinations. So for example, if you require 3 Rabies vaccinations to complete your course, you will need to pay 1 x £9.15 charge in total.

For every separate type of vaccination you receive, you will need to pay a charge. So for example, if you need courses of Yellow Fever and Rabies, you will pay 2 x £9.15 charges, £18.30 in total.

Please note: the prescription charge increases in April each year. Please enquire at pharmacy for the most up-to-date price.

I am usually exempt from paying for medications, do I still need to pay?

In the case of vaccinations and medications for personal travel, all non-military patients will need to pay regardless of whether they are usually exempt. This means children, pregnant ladies and people with medical conditions will still need to pay for their travel health items, even if you are dependent of a serving soldier. Prescription prepayment cards cannot be used to cover travel health vaccines.

What about antimalarials and altitude sickness?

If you require medication to prevent malaria or altitude sickness on your travels, you will need to pay for it. The charge is £9.15 per patient, regardless of the quantity you receive.

What about antimalarials?

If you require medication to prevent malaria or altitude sickness on your travels, you will need to pay for it. The charge is £9.15 per patient, regardless of the quantity you receive.

How do I pay?

You will continue to access travel health in the usual way with your local provider. Once you have received your vaccinations and/or medication, you will receive an invoice from SSAFA to recoup the applicable number of prescription charges for you and your family.

What if I don’t want to pay, or if I decide not to get the vaccinations in order to avoid paying?

It is your responsibility to take care of your health and your families health when travelling overseas.

Failure to get the required vaccines or take recommended medication means that your travel insurance may not cover the costs if you fall ill. The illnesses vaccinated against for holiday travel can be debilitating, unpleasant and even fatal, and are very likely to lead to a large treatment bill for yourself and your family if you become unwell overseas.

Attending a private UK travel clinic can be very costly – vaccinations can cost between £20 - £150 each, and you may need several to complete the course. The £9.15 travel health charge is likely to be the most cost-effective way of obtaining travel health vaccines for you and your family.


  • Personal travel vaccines and travel medication for military personnel will continue to be free
  • Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Cholera and Polio vaccinations for personal travel will continue to be free to all patients
  • For all other personal travel, patients must pay for their vaccines and medication, regardless of age, medical history or whether they hold a prepayment card
  • This is likely to be the most cost-effective way that you can obtain travel healthcare for your family
  • Please get in touch with the medical centre if you have any queries

If you are planning a trip please book an appointment for a travel health assessment at SHAPE Medical Centre as soon as possible. The assessment is free, and the nurse will be able to give you further information on the vaccines you will need and what the likely cost will be. Some vaccination courses can take time to complete, so it is important that you book your assessment as soon as possible.

SHAPE Medical Centre: 0032 6544 5824

Brunssum MAU: 0031 45526 2497