Page 1 | 2 Missionary Immunization Requirements
Limited Required Immunizations
Each missionary will be notified if these vaccinations are required in their assigned mission.
Polio (P): Only those serving in countries where polio is endemic (see table) need to have a booster
dose. If a person’s vaccination status is unknown, and current protection is needed, two injections of
inactivated polio vaccine (IVP) should be given at least four weeks apart. Some countries use the
oral live virus vaccine. Either vaccine is acceptable.
Typhoid (TY): Two types of vaccine are available (not always in developing countries). The preferred method is an oral dosing, taking one capsule on a 0, 2, 4, and 6 day schedule. The doses should not be taken while on an antibiotic. The injection is a single dose, and is the method used at MTCs because of dosing problems with the oral capsules in that setting.
Yellow Fever (YF-live virus): Vaccine is available only in travel clinics or health departments, and should be given in advance of entering the MTC because of common mild adverse reactions (10-30%). Those over age 60, especially if they have never previously been vaccinated for YF, have increased reaction risks, some of which are serious. If the YF risk is low, a medical waiver may be advisable.
Japanese Encephalitis (JE): The present U.S. vaccine (JEV or Ixiaro) is given in two injections four weeks apart with the second dose given at least one week before travelling to the country of risk. Missionaries who stay at the MTC only 1-2 weeks MUST get the first dose at least three weeks before entering the MTC, so that the second dose may be given at the proper interval. We require JEV for those going to hyperendemic (high-risk) countries as the CDC advises, but simply recommend it for endemic countries. Missionaries should understand the risk, benefit, and cost of this vaccine, and then make an informed decision if they are going to an endemic country. See table under the JE column: JEV is required in countries marked X, and optional in those marked OPT.
Meningitis: All young adult missionaries should receive meningococcal meningitis vaccine at least 10
days before entering an MTC. If one dose has been received more than five years before beginning the mission, a booster dose is advisable. Senior missionaries going to high-risk countries (see table) also must be vaccinated. It is now approved for individuals over 65.
Pneumonia: This single injection vaccine is especially advised for seniors over age 65, those with chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthmatics taking prevention medications, and those with sickle cell disease, diabetes or post splenectomy or other immune challenged conditions.
Chickenpox (Varicella-live virus): This two-injection, live virus vaccine is given four weeks apart and is advised for those who have never been vaccinated or never had the disease. Persons born before 1980 in the U. S. do not need the vaccine.
Shingles (H. Zoster-live virus): Seniors over age 50 may reduce the risks of shingles and neuralgia with a single dose of this live virus vaccine (Zostrix).
Specific immunizations are required for missionaries serving in certain countries, such as malaria prevention. Countries not listed require the basic immunizations. For information on the specific countries that require malaria prevention, yellow fever, meningococcal or other vaccines, visit the Traveler's Health website.