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Education Abroad Office

Immunizations & Medications

Immunizations & medications are an important aspect of health while abroad. Be sure to make yourself aware of the customs regulations regarding medicines brought into your destination country. While discussing immunizations with your health care provider, consider not only your base location, but any other countries where you might travel.


  • Check the immunization requirements for your destination and make sure you are up to date before departure.
  • You can visit the USC Thomson Student Health Center Travel Clinic for any immunization needs, questions, or additional travel health information.
  • Travel Clinic appointments should be scheduled at least eight weeks prior to the date of anticipated travel to ensure that vaccines are administered in time.
  • Keep in mind that some immunizations require a series or spacing for protection (as long as three or six months for a series of shots), so allow as much time as possible for immunization.

Whether or not to obtain travel immunizations or prophylactic medications is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a medical professional and in consideration of one’s medical history, destination, planned activities abroad, potential for exposure and possible side effects. Some prophylactic medications for Malaria, for example, interact poorly with certain prescription medications, so it’s critical to discuss these issues with a travel health professional.

Travelers can save “time, money and discomfort” by reviewing the CDC recommendations in light of their itinerary, exposure and activities, and then if applicable, schedule an appointment with a licensed travel health professional. 


  • If possible, bring an adequate supply of medication(s) to last the entire duration of your program and be sure to bring a copy of any prescriptions or other documentation proving a doctor prescribed you the medication(s).
    • If you are not able to obtain an adequate supply of medication from your U.S. health provider, please contact the EAO team.  We will assist you in opening a case with our international insurance company who can research the availability of your medication in your destination country and connect you with a health provider in your destination country to ensure the continuity of your medication supply.
  • If your medication(s) needs to be refrigerated, you should contact your airline to ensure it has the ability to refrigerate your medication(s) during your flight.
  • Some medications may not be available in your host country or are very difficult to obtain. However, you should not ship your medication(s) from home after arrival in your host country. They could be held in customs for months. 
  • Remember that some medications are illegal overseas. Every country has its own regulations around what can and cannot be brought in, and just because a medication is legal in the United States does not mean it will be legal abroad. If you are unsure about the legality of your medication, open a case with AXA Assistance - they should be able to provide you with an answer in 5-10 business days. The embassy of your host country may provide additional information about legal concerns. 
  • Research comparable over-the-counter medications in your host country prior to departure. Something like Tylenol/acetaminophen may go by a different name, come in different doses, have different ingredients, or not be available at all.
  • Always pack your medication in your carry-on. You do not want to be without your prescription if your checked luggage is lost or delayed. The TSA provides additional tips regarding carrying medication at their website
  • Be sure to speak with your doctor prior to departure to discuss the best plan regarding the transport, availability, and use of your medication(s) while abroad.

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