Travel Medicine

Columbia Health offers a specific set of services related to international travel for free to students enrolled in Columbia Health:

  • Recommendations for immunizations
  • Vaccinations

Faculty and staff traveling out of the country should call the Human Resources Benefits Service Center at 212-851-7000.

Travel assessments are available by appointment only; make one by calling Medical Services at 212-854-7426.  Appointments are scheduled in a group session of approximately 10 students that will include an informational session.  This is immediately followed by an individual session with a registered nurse for the vaccines.  The vaccine prices and all additional fees are available upon request prior to the visit.

For updated travel alerts and precautionary measures related to Zika virus, malaria, dengue, chikagungka, MERS, or Ebola, be sure to visit the Centers for Disease Control travel information website.

Prior to Your Assessment

  • Complete the online questionnaire or respond to the email questionnaire sent to students after they make an appointment.
  • Collect as much information regarding immunization history and have it available. Original documents are not necessary.

Prescriptions

Students traveling overseas for an extended period should plan in advance for prescription medication needs, as most insurance plans only allow for a 30-day supply of prescription medications. Students insured under the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan should contact Aetna Student Health to request approval for a medication supply (often called “vacation override”) adequate to meet their travel needs. Students who carry other insurance plans should contact their carrier for more information.

Vaccinations

We recommend that the initial assessment be set up well in advance of the departure date, as some vaccinations may require six weeks to several months and multiple visits to complete the series. Please make an appointment at the same time you reserve the tickets for your trip.

Cancelling or Rescheduling an Appointment

  • Travel assessments are in high demand. As a courtesy to other travelers, students should contact us immediately if they cannot make the scheduled telephone assessment or follow-up appointments.
  • If students do not cancel a scheduled assessment at least 48 hours in advance, they will not be able to schedule another appointment within the same semester. Please keep in mind that students will be responsible for all associated costs.

Health Insurance

Many travelers may need to purchase additional insurance from companies specifically designed to meet these needs. Students should ask their insurance providers if medical evacuation is included.

Students enrolled in the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan have travel insurance benefits provided by On Call International.

While You’re Away

When you are away from Columbia and unable to come to Medical Services for an evaluation, you should call or send a secure web message directly to your primary care provider. That way, we are aware of your problem and can prepare a referral for you if necessary.

If it is an urgent problem, you can be seen in the emergency room or an urgent care center without a referral.