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Getting vaccinated in Luxembourg

Adverse effects, dangerousness, harmful presence of aluminium… Vaccination does not always have a good reputation among the population. However, its positive effects on disease prevention are undeniable. Vaccines help protect the population from dangerous diseases.

So what does Luxembourg’s legislation say on the subject? Is vaccination compulsory? Which vaccines are recommended? What are the obligations before travelling abroad? What about vaccination in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg?

Why getting vaccinated?

Vaccination helps protect against certain infectious diseases. Although there are some reservations about its effectiveness or safety, its benefits in preventing dangerous diseases remain undeniable. Vaccines also help prevent epidemics.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), two to three million lives are saved each year through vaccination. It has also helped eradicate smallpox from the planet. The last known case dates back to 1977 in Somalia. Polio has also disappeared from Western Europe. Several other serious diseases – such as diphtheria and tetanus – have all but disappeared from Europe. Furthermore, according to data from the Luxembourg government, diphtheria and polio no longer exist in the country.

In the Grand Duchy, vaccination coverage of children aged 25 to 30 months is evaluated every five years. This national survey reveals that more than 95% of resident children have been vaccinated for the 13 recommended vaccines.

Health prevention, European Vaccination Week

Every year the “European Vaccination Week” is held to raise awareness of the importance of vaccines. Vaccination is an individual right, but also a collective responsibility.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global action plan for vaccines in 2011. The WHO has thus set six objectives for 2020, such as eliminating rubella, reducing measles mortality and vaccinating a larger proportion of the world’s population against tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria.

Vaccination and regulation in Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, vaccinations are not compulsory. However, the public health authorities recommend following the national vaccination schedule.

Indeed, while vaccination is an individual right, it is also a collective responsibility. The authorities therefore recommend that children be vaccinated. Adults are also advised to be vaccinated every ten years against poliomyelitis, tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria.

Good to know. The vaccinations in the vaccination calendar for infants and children are paid for by the Luxembourg State.

Vaccination book

At the first vaccination, a vaccination booklet is given to the patient. This allows the follow-up of the injections received by the person, from his or her earliest age.

This booklet indicates the name of the vaccine, the date of the injection, the batch number and generally the date of the next vaccination.

Vaccination recommendations for Luxembourg

Although there are no regulations in this area, vaccination of children is still strongly recommended to protect them against dangerous or even fatal diseases. Most parents vaccinate their children in this way. Adults are also advised to get vaccinated against certain diseases.

The Luxembourg health authorities have therefore set up a vaccination calendar. The aim of this is to provide a guideline.

To test its vaccine protection, the Luxembourg government has set up an online tool. This allows adults to ensure that vaccination reminders are up to date.

Vaccination schedule

The public health authorities have put in place a vaccination schedule. This schedule gives recommendations for infants and children, adolescents, but also adults.

Infants, children, adolescents
AgeDoseVaccinProtection
2 months1stcombined vaccine (D, T, aP, Hib, IPV, Hep B) Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infections, polio, hepatitis B
1stRotavirusGastroenteritis
1stPneumococcal
Invasive Pneumococcal

Infections

3 months2ndcombined vaccine(D, T, aP, Hib, IPV, Hep B) Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infections, polio, hepatitis B
2ndRotavirusGastroenteritis
4 months3rdcombined vaccine (D, T, aP, Hib, IPV)Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infections, polio, hepatitis B
2èmePneumococcalInvasive Pneumococcal Infections
12 months1stcombined vaccine (RORV)Mumps, rubella, measles, chickenpox
3rdPneumococcalInvasive Pneumococcal Infections
13 months4thcombined vaccine (D, T, aP, Hib, IPV, Hep B)Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infections, polio, hepatitis B
1stMeningococcal CInvasive Meningococcal C Infections (MenC)
15-23 months2ndcombined vaccine (RORV)Mumps, rubella, measles, chickenpox
Before 5 years (if not already done)1stPneumococcalInvasive Pneumococcal Infections
5-6 years oldRecallcombined vaccine (d, T, aP, IPV)Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infections, polio, hepatitis B
12 years old

(if not already done)

1stHepatitis BHepatitis B
11-13 years (girls)1stHPVPapillomarivus Infections (HPV)
15-16 years oldRecallCombined vaccine (d, T, aP, IPV +MenC)Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio
15-16 ans

(girls if not already done)

1reHPVPapillomarivus Infections (HPV)

Note that other vaccinations may be recommended for children at risk (blood diseases, chronic lung diseases, etc.).

Adults and seniors
AgeVaccinProtection
Every 10 yearsCombined vaccine (d, T, aP, IPV)Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio
Born after 1980 and have not received two doses of measles, mumps and rubellaMMR vaccine Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine
65 years old and morePneumococcalInvasive Pneumococcal Infections
65 years old and moreGrippe Seasonal influenza

Note that other vaccinations may be recommended for children at risk (blood diseases, chronic lung diseases, etc.).

Good to know. Vaccinations for infants and children on the vaccination calendar are paid for by the Luxembourg State. Certain at-risk populations are also concerned.

Cost of vaccination

The vaccinations of infants and children on the vaccination calendar are paid for by the Luxembourg State. Certain at-risk populations are also concerned.

Vaccination against seasonal influenza is paid for by the CNS for those who meet the conditions. These are people aged 65 or over or, on prescription, pregnant women, people with chronic heart, lung or kidney disease, people with autoimmune diseases or, for example, people suffering from congenital immunodeficiency. To find out more about who should receive the seasonal flu vaccine, it is recommended that you speak directly to your doctor.

The CNS also reimburses the cost of the bivalent vaccine (Cervarix®) for girls between 11 and 13 years of age inclusive.

Find out more about medical expenses reimbursement

Before travelling, it is important to check your vaccinations. Depending on the country of destination, additional vaccinations may be required in order to enter the country.

Travel, in which cases to get vaccinated?

Before travelling abroad – depending on the destination – it may be necessary to have specific and additional vaccinations such as yellow fever. Yellow fever is the only disease for which countries may require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry for travellers, in accordance with the International Health Regulations of 2005, but only under certain circumstances.

This is particularly the case before travelling to certain countries in Africa, Central and South America. Some require routine vaccination as in Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon or Mali; others depending on the country of origin.

The purpose of this vaccination is to prevent the importation and international spread of the virus, but also to protect travellers who may be exposed to the infection. Once the vaccination is done, the doctor gives the patient an international vaccination certificate. Since July 11, 2016, this certificate is valid for life, as opposed to ten years previously. In other words, a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine cannot be required as a condition of entry into a territory. This amendment to Annex 7 of the International Health Regulations concerns all persons, regardless of the date of vaccination.

What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease. It is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Its incubation period is relatively short: between 3 and 6 days. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, headache, fatigue… There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, hence the importance of vaccination when traveling to endemic areas. This disease can be very virulent. Approximately half of the patients die within 7 to 10 days of contracting the disease.

Who should be vaccinated before travelling?

Some vaccinations are required before entering the country. It is therefore important to check the conditions before travelling.

As a general rule, all travellers must be vaccinated according to the country’s requirements. It is therefore recommended from the age of 9 months, or exceptionally 6 months.

However, there are some special cases, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women, blood donors or immunocompromised persons.

When vaccination cannot be carried out, it is strongly recommended to cancel or postpone – as far as possible – trips to amaril endemic areas.

Caution! Pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 6 months of age or immuno-compromised persons cannot be vaccinated against yellow fever.

Did you know that? 

Some vaccines, such as the yellow fever vaccine, are made using a hen’s egg culture step. These vaccines therefore contain minute amounts of egg protein. Vaccination against yellow fever is therefore not recommended for people who are severely allergic to eggs. For more information, consult a doctor.

What is the international vaccination certificate?

Once the vaccines have been injected into the patient, the doctor will give him or her an international vaccination certificate. This document certifies that the person has been vaccinated.

Since July 11, 2016, this certificate is valid for life, as opposed to ten years previously.

Where to get vaccinated in Luxembourg?

The “Travel Clinic” is the only yellow fever vaccination centre in Luxembourg. Its aim is to inform and advise travellers, but also to vaccinate them. It is located at the Centre hospitalier de Luxembourg, rue Nicolas Ernest Barblé in Luxembourg.

More than 4,000 patients go there every year to be vaccinated against yellow fever. Other vaccines are also offered – depending on the destination – such as rabies, Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis A and B…

It is advisable to check with a doctor or the Travel Clinic at least six weeks before departure. Vaccination should be carried out at least 10 days prior to travel.

In case of continuous exposure or repeated travel, it is recommended that the patient be given a booster dose every ten years.

Good to know. It is possible to make an appointment online, directly on the CHL website.

For other vaccinations, consult your doctor or make an appointment with a general practitioner.