Travel Safe News

by Penny Gleave RN, BScN Penny Gleave RN, BScN No Comments

Pertussis – have you received your booster?

Pertussis or whooping cough is a respiratory infection that is easily spread through coughing and sneezing.  This disease can be contracted by inhaling nose and throat droplets from those who are infected.  The persistent cough can last up to 10 weeks.  Infected people can pass on this highly contagious bacteria not knowing they are infected.

To diagnose pertussis, a throat swab and clinic assessment must be performed.  Your health care provider will also consider your possible exposure to an infected person and will review your signs and symptoms.  This highly contagious disease has been found in 10-20% of adults and adolescents with a cough illness lasting seven or more days without improvement.

According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, cyclical peaks occur every 3-5 years.  Since 2012, pertussis incidence in BC has continued an increasing trend in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Authorities, Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Northern Health Authority regions of BC.

In British Columbia and across Canada, infants receive a pertussis vaccine in their basic vaccine schedules.   In British Columbia, any child born in 1989 or later receives a booster dose in grade 9 as part of their basic vaccine series.


Pertussis is not going away

Lower vaccination uptake rates, missed booster doses and waning immunity contribute to clusters of pertussis outbreaks in Canada and in international destinations.


Why do I need this vaccine if I had all my vaccines when I was a child?

The effectiveness of the childhood pertussis vaccine can decrease over time.  Adults who acquired the natural disease as a child will also have decreased immunity.  An adult booster dose of pertussis is recommended according to the current recommendations from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

What if I just received a tetanus shot?

The tetanus diphtheria (Td) vaccine is recommended every ten years even if you never left Canada. This vaccine is often administered in hospital emergency departments, walk in clinics or at a doctor’s office when skin is broken and it is unknown whether a recent Td vaccine has been received.   This vaccine is covered by the Medical Services Plan (MSP) in British Columbia.

Pertussis is administered in a vaccine that also contains tetanus and diphtheria.  However, you would not receive a pertussis containing vaccination with a routine tetanus diphtheria vaccination as it is not covered by MSP even though it is recommended.

If you have recently received a tetanus containing vaccine, there is no minimal interval between a Td and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine.  It is recommended you receive (Tdap) vaccine to ensure you are protected for pertussis.


Family planning | Grandparents | Aunts and Uncles

Adults are a major source of transmission to infants.  Household contacts are responsible for 75-80% of pertussis transmission to susceptible infants.   Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, cousins, and care-takers can transmit pertussis to vulnerable infants in the first few months of life.  Infants do not develop adequate levels of immunity until they receive their third vaccination at six months of age.  The most serious complications occur in this vulnerable age group.  Couples planning a family should ensure they receive Tdap before their infant’s due date.


Pertussis cases also occur outside Canada in common international destinations.   According to the Centre for Disease Control Atlanta, ‘pertussis is endemic worldwide, even in areas with high vaccination rates.’  In developing countries vaccination coverage is low.  Receiving pertussis vaccine before your departure will provide you protection before you depart and is also an opportune time to receive your Td booster.

Pertussis is a concern as it is currently one of the most prevalent vaccine-preventable diseases in Canada.  This vaccination is recommended for adults remaining in Canada and travelling to all destinations worldwide including the United States.

Make an appointment for your Pertussis Vaccination

by TravelSafe Clinic TravelSafe Clinic No Comments

Passport 101


There’s something singularly exciting about receiving a new passport. That precious little blue book represents the freedom to travel to far off places in relative safety.

Its new pages are the blank canvas on which we’ll paint our travel dreams: a destination wedding in Bali, an African safari, a spiritual retreat on the banks of the Ganges–the possibilities are as wide and vast as the world itself!


Canadians on the Move!

Clearly, most Canadians feel the same way about their passports, as, according to, 65% of us have a valid passport. Indeed, we are a people on the move, and having a passport is becoming increasingly important, as it’s required for travel to most countries in the world, but can also be used as a form of identification for various purposes in Canada as well.


Whether you already have a passport or are thinking of getting one, the following passport information may be helpful!


Avoid the Passport Panic Attack!

There are few things more panic inducing than being about to leave for your vacation, opening your passport, and realizing that it’s expired! To avoid this travel nightmare, always make sure to check your passport expiry date before you book your vacation! This is certainly not a travel detail you want to overlook!


Optimally, you should renew your passport within 6 months of its expiry to avoid any complications or delays that could occur. Better safe than sorry!


Urgent Passport Processing

While passport expiry dates should ideally be checked months before booking a vacation, there are circumstances where you realize your passport may be days or weeks from expiring before your trip. If this is the case, don’t panic; you can use the urgent and express passport renewal option.


Processing Times for Urgent and Express Service :

●      urgent pick-up: By the end of the next business day

●      express pick-up: 2 to 9 business days


How to Apply for Urgent and Express Service

-an airline, bus or train ticket

-a written declaration, if travelling by car

-a travel itinerary showing travel proof of payment

-proof of illness or death in the family requiring immediate travel

Additional Fees

For urgent or express service, you will need to pay an additional service fee along with the regular passport fee. These include:

  • urgent pick-up:

fee: CAN$110

processing time: by the end of the next business day

  • express pick-up:

fee: CAN$50

processing time: within 2-9 business days


Your passport is a very valuable document, so when travelling it’s important to remember the following:

  • Never give out your passport information
  • Always keep a photocopy of your passport, and scan a copy of it in case it is misplaced, lost or stolen
  • Keep your passport in a safe place at all times
  • When travelling, keep your passport in a hotel safe or on your person
  • Be careful whom you show your passport to when travelling
  • Keep your passport covered or in a holder to protect it from water damage and wear and tear.


I’ve Lost my Passport. Now What?

The most important thing to do if you lose your passport is to  report it immediately. As soon as it’s reported, it is no longer valid and cannot be used for travel. If you are in Canada, you can call the passport office or visit a passport office near you to begin the process of getting a new passport issued.

If you are travelling outside Canada and lose your passport, report it to the Government of Canada office nearest to where you are.

For more information, go to

Armed with a valid, unexpired passport, you’re ready to fill those empty pages with bucket-list world adventures! Let’s go!


Works Cited:

Before you travel, protect your health.

TravelSafely with TravelSafe Immunization Clinic