The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel

By Marc Shaw and Claire Wong In   Issue Volume 24 No.1 .

In the context of protecting travellers going abroad, “vaccination is a highly effective method of preventing certain infectious diseases”.1 At last here is a practical manual for travel immunisations which is relevant for this region, and is an ideal companion in the clinic for The Australian Immunisation Handbook2 and similar guidelines for the region. The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel brings together contributors and chapters describing essential and practical aspects of immunisation for travel in one ready reference. Its stated target audience is health professionals advising travellers in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel is presented as a 24 x 16 x 2 cm hardback publication. The front cover is simple in design with some basic graphic art work. The work contains a Preface, a table of Contents, a list of the details of the 21 Contributors, 21 Chapters, an Appendix, as well as a travel photo (presumably by one of the Editors) and a poignant travel quote on the frontispiece opposite the title page attributed to Abbot Kaoze (more precisely ascribed to the late 1890s,3 rather than 1890):

“When going on a journey it is not just the strength of a man’s legs, but the provisions he prepares for the trip”. (p ii)

There is no Foreword, Acknowledgements, List of tables, List of/figures, List of plates, Glossary and no Index, which was a most curious and significant omission for time-poor health professionals trying to locate information quickly in a hard copy of this manual.

The chapters (and the names of contributors) contained in The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel include “Ch.1. Introduction” (Marc Shaw and Claire Wong); “Ch.2. The Anatomy of Immunity” (Helen Petousis- Harris); “Ch.3. Common Vaccine-Preventable Travel-Related Diseases” (Marc Shaw); “Ch.4. Risk Assessing for Vaccine Administration” (Hilary Simons); “Ch.5. Vaccines at a Glance” (Marc Shaw); “Ch. 6. Vaccine Summary Table” (Marc Shaw, David Smith and Brigid O’Brien); “Ch. 7. Vaccines and Their Contents” (Marc Shaw, Tonia Buzzolini, Poh Lian Lim and Smriti Patlak); “Ch. 8. Vaccine Administration” (Claire Wong); “Ch. 9. Routine Vaccinations for the Traveller” (Peter Leggat); “Ch. 10. The Last-Minute Traveller” (Claire Wong and Lisa Scotland); “Ch. 11. Vaccinations in Pregnancy” (I. Dale Carroll and Jenny Visser); “Ch. 12. Vaccine Considerations for Children and Breastfeeding Women” (Marc Shaw and Jenny Visser); “Ch. 13. The Immune-Affected Traveller” (Marc Shaw); “Ch. 14. Vaccines for Mass Travel” (Claire Wong); “Ch. 15. A Guide to Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Events” (Nick Zwar); “16. Myths Surrounding Vaccines” (Helen  Petousis-Harris); “17. Australian Immunisation Practice” (Tonia Buzzolini); “18. New Zealand Immunisation Practice” (Claire Wong); “19. Singaporean Immunisation Practice” (Poh Lian Lim and Smriti Patlak); “20. Regional Vaccinations: A Global Guide” (Marc Shaw); and “21. Emergencies and Managing Adverse Events: Emergency Medical Equipment” (Marc Shaw and David Smith). The back cover of the book gives a brief description of the book and biographies of the two Editors.

The highlights of The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel are too numerous to mention but some examples are given here. The Vaccine Summary Table 6.1 is an impressive summary of all the travel vaccinations (Ch. 6; pp 61-75) and is a useful ready reference for the health professional. All clinic staff should be familiar with vaccine administration and the chapter (Ch. 9) is a concise discussion on this important topic. The practical Figure on intramuscular, subcutaneous and intradermal injection techniques (p 105) needs to be labelled in-text as a Figure in the next edition or update of the eBook, but is a useful training diagram for clinic staff. The discussion on the Last Minute Traveller (Ch.10) also answers most of the common questions about vaccination for those travellers who seek advice very late before they travel. The guide to contraindications, precautions and adverse events is also essential reading and is one of the first compilations on this topic in a travel health textbook. Another highlight is the chapter on managing emergencies and adverse events, which included a discussion on emergency equipment, also essential reading for all staff in the clinic. In particular, Figures 21.1 (p 231) and 21.2 (p 233) are useful to obtain for the clinic emergency room. Figure 21.1 could benefit from a higher resolution graphic in a future edition or eBook update, but is available as a download from the New Zealand Resuscitation Council.4 These guidelines are consistent with those of the Australian Resuscitation Council.5

The Editors of The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel are Marc Shaw and Claire Wong, who are clinicians working with Worldwise Travellers’ Health Centres in Auckland, New Zealand. Marc Shaw is Medical Director of Worldwise New Zealand and is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences at James Cook University, Australia. Marc has worked in many countries and has deployed with the New Zealand Defence Forces to Bamyian, Afghanistan. Claire Wong is a travel health specialist nurse at Worldwise New Zealand, and was formerly a Specialist Nurse with the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) in the United Kingdom. Claire is also a member of the Executive Board of the International Society of Travel Medicine.

There are 14 contributors to the Manual, who have been listed with the Chapter titles previously, although the Editors have contributed significantly to 13 of the 21 chapters. There is a preponderance of contributors from New Zealand, consistent with both Editors being from New Zealand. Seven are from New Zealand, three from Australia, two from Singapore, one from the United States of America and one from the United Kingdom. The editors may wish to consider drawing on a more balanced representation of editors and contributors from the three target countries, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel is the first compilation of practical information and advice on travel vaccination for the Australasian region. The concise and direct style makes for an easy reading manual. It will broadly appeal to all health professionals working in travel medicine in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, as well as other countries in the region that closely align their vaccination policies and delivery with one or more of these countries. Being selective in the target audience means that the manual can be more prescriptive and focussed than might be possible in an international textbook. The Practical Compendium of Immunisations for International Travel is an essential reference for any clinic providing travel health advice in the region.



1. World Health Organization. Ch. 6. Vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccines. In. International Travel and Health. Geneva: WHO, 2012. 2. National Health and Medical Research Council. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. 10th Edn. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing, 2013. 3. Butcher T. Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart. London: Vintage Books, 2008. p 114. 4. New Zealand Resuscitation Council. Basic Life Support. URL. Guidelines/BLS_flowchart.pdf (accessed 31 October 2015) 5. Australian Resuscitation Council. Homepage. URL. (accessed 31 October 2015)

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