NHS Service

Vaccinations Required for Travel to South East Asia

Travelling to SouthEast Asia can be an exciting journey! Whether you have booked a trip to an area as exciting as Singapore, as diverse as Bangkok or as exotic as Bali, you’ll have an experience like no other! Travel plans are always a bit of a worry, but also trying to sort out which vaccines you need for travel to SouthEast Asia can be confusing. SouthEast Asia includes Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Chat with us at Touchwood Pharmacy for all region and country specific advice and vaccines you might need to plan your trip.
South East Asia

What vaccines are mandatory for Southeast Asia?

Minimum Mandatory vaccines include:  

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Polio
  • Typhoid

Touchwood Pharmacy offers advice and vaccinations to prepare you for your trip to SouthEast Asia. Here is more information about what you’ll need:

Hepatitis Vaccine for Travel to Southeast Asia

Hepatitis A is spread from close personal contact with an infected person. This includes caring for a person who is ill, certain types of sexual contact and using drugs with others. It is very contagious and can be spread with or without symptoms. Hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV).  It is found in the stool and blood of infected people and is very contagious. This vaccine is required when travelling to an area with poor levels of sanitation, and Hepatitis A is common.  

Hepatitis B spreads through blood and body fluids and can be transmitted through sexual contact, sharing needles or from a mother to baby at birth. It is characterised by a serious liver infection that causes swelling and can lead to liver damage. This type of Hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis of the liver (which is extreme scarring or hardening of the liver) and can also cause liver cancer, quite possibly ending in fatality.  

Southeast Asia is highly endemic for Hepatitis A and B. This could be due to a combination of factors including a slow/low vaccine uptake as well as low birth control programme success rates, drug use increase/frequency and a lower level of sanitation.

Tetanus Vaccine for Travel to Southeast Asia

Tetanus spreads differently than other vaccine preventable diseases. It does not spread from person to person, rather, it spreads when bacteria trapped in soil, dust and manure (animal faeces) enters the body through breaks in human skin. This usually happens because of a puncture wound or a cut caused by a contaminated object like a nail or a wire. Tetanus, or lockjaw, is an infection that causes painful muscle contractions.Tetanus is usually given in a combined diphtheria, polio and tetanus vaccine during childhood in the UK, but you may need a booster to travel, depending on how long ago your last set of vaccinations has been or whether you can provide evidence of those vaccinations before travel. Tetanus is a risk to all people, everywhere and has not yet been eradicated from any country.

Diphtheria Vaccine for Travel to Southeast Asia

Diphtheria bacteria spreads through droplets from coughing or sneezing, as well as through touching infected open sores or ulcers. This means it can be caught as easily as a cold or flu if you happen to be in the same room as someone who is infected. Diphtheria is a potentially fatal contagious bacterial infection that mainly affects the nose and throat as well as the skin, on occasion. Diphtheria vaccines are routinely given during childhood in the UK, but a booster shot is recommended if you are going to a part of the world where diphtheria is a risk. Singapore, for example, has had a case and risk for resurgence of the disease as late as 5 years ago. Be sure to engage in good respiratory and hand hygiene as well as update your diphtheria vaccine before travel.

Polio Booster for Travel to Africa

Polio is most frequently spread through contact with the faeces of an infected person. Less frequently, it spreads through droplets from a sneeze or cough from an infected person.  Good hand washing can help prevent spreading, but vaccination is the best defence. Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that attacks the nervous system. Sporadic reporting of cases of polio in parts of Southeast Asia means a booster shot for polio is a good idea. 

Typhoid Vaccine for Travel to Southeast Asia

Typhoid is spread through sewage contamination of food or water. If contaminated water is used to wash food, or if someone who has typhoid does not wash their hands after using the bathroom, it can spread. Vaccination is recommended against typhoid fever along with taking precautions such as practising effective personal and hand hygiene along with  observing strict food and water safety measures. If you do contract typhoid fever, it is potentially fatal if left untreated. Because certain areas of Southeast Asia are remote or have poor sanitation and limited access to clean water, typhoid vaccination is recommended prior to travel.

Yellow Fever vaccine for travel to Southeast Asia

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  “Yellow” in the name refers to the yellowing of the eyes and skin that affects some patients.  This is known as jaundice. Yellow fever is not endemic to all countries in Southeast Asia.  Please contact us at Touchwood Pharmacy for a list of countries that require a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. If it is required, you should have this vaccination at least 10 days before travel where you will be issued with a Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis once the vaccination is administered, which is valid for life. To avoid yellow fever infection, as well as other mosquito borne vaccine-preventable illnesses, vaccination along with taking additional precautions against mosquito bites is recommended. These can include using DDT insect repellent, wearing long sleeves, sleeping with air conditioning or using a mosquito net over your bed at night.  

You may also be required to vaccinate for Japanese Encephalitis, a mosquito borne illness as well as rabies for travel to Southeast Asia. 

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