Travel Vaccinations for Vietnam

Are you planning on travelling to Vietnam soon? It’s a beautiful destination in Southeast Asia full of vibrant and welcoming people, scenic beaches and historic sites, and enticing cuisine with French, Chinese and Cambodian influences.

There are a range of vaccinations for Vietnam that should be considered before your next adventure. It’s crucial to get in contact with a medical provider specialising in vaccinations for Vietnam so that you have plenty of time to get the ones you need.

Remember that many vaccines do not provide lifetime immunity. Even if you have been vaccinated in the past, booster vaccinations which boost your immunity are often required for a range of serious illnesses that are prevalent in Vietnam.

If you are traveling to Vietnam or also nearby Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia and Thailand, this brief guide will help you learn about the vaccinations for Vietnam and Cambodia and how to reduce other potential health risks during your journey.

Pre-travel Preparation Will Help Protect Your Health While You Are Away

The life and lights of Vietnam can place well-meaning travellers at risk of exposure to diseases and illness. Consult a travel doctor prior to departure to assess your risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans as diseases like Japanese encephalitis may be of risk depending on the time of year and places you travel to within Vietnam.

Safe Eating and Drinking Practices

One of the great pleasures of travel is sampling the local cuisine. However, contaminated food and beverages are a common cause of traveller’s diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal illnesses. Safe eating and drinking practices are essential in minimising your risk of contracting traveller’s diarrhoea.

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Insect Avoidance

There are a number of viruses and illnesses that are contracted through insects such as fleas, ticks and flies. Mosquitoes however are the biggest culprit of spreading insect borne diseases such as Zika Virus and Malaria which are a risk in Vietnam. Ensure you a prepared and read up on our insect avoidance tips.

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What vaccinations do I need for Vietnam?

These routine vaccinations for Vietnam should be up to date prior to your departure date. You will need to be vaccinated if you did not receive these in childhood or if they are past the date in which a booster vaccine should have been received.

  • Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis
    Your medical provider will ensure that you are up to date on your routine vaccines including your tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough vaccinations). You may need a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccination booster if it has been 10 years since your last vaccination.
     
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
    These are easily spread viral illnesses that are found in Vietnam and many other countries. Outbreaks have occurred recently in Vietnam. They are easily preventable through vaccinations. If you do not have evidence of immunity, or if you have not received two previous vaccines in your lifetime, a booster dose will be recommended. In some states this is provides as part of a free program.

Additional potential vaccinations for Vietnam

These additional vaccinations for Vietnam may be recommended by your medical provider depending on where you will travel, your prior vaccinations and other factors:

  • Hepatitis A
    Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver and can be spread through contaminated food and water no matter where you end up visiting. This vaccination is recommended for most travellers to Vietnam. Once you complete the vaccine course it is lifelong.
     
  • Hepatitis B
    This viral illness also affects the liver and other organs and is spread through sexual contact, blood products or contaminated needles. This vaccine has been part of the standard vaccine schedule for over 20 years now so many will already be vaccinated. This vaccine is often recommended for those who may be travelling in more remote areas or who are frequent travellers to at risk countries. It would also be recommended in those who may have sexual contact with a new partner, who may have medical procedures or receive a tattoo or piercing. These activities would cautioned against in a country such as Vietnam due to this risk. Once the course is completed vaccination is lifelong.
     
  • Typhoid Fever
    Typhoid can be transmitted through contaminated food or water and it is common in developing countries like Vietnam, therefore this vaccine is often recommended, particularly for travel to smaller cities or for those who plan to be more adventurous with eating and drinking.
     
  • Yellow Fever
    There is no of yellow fever in Vietnam, however if you have visited a country with a yellow fever risk, the government may require proof of vaccination prior to your travel to Vietnam.
     
  • Japanese Encephalitis
    This is a serious viral illness transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Because this illness is endemic throughout the country, this vaccine may be recommended, especially for those visiting rural areas, rice farms or irrigation areas.
     
  • Rabies
    Rabies is a deadly viral illness transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. Depending on where you travel and the nature of your activities, you may be recommended to receive a course of rabies vaccination. Once vaccinated it is gives lifelong cover and reduces necessary treatment if bitten significantly.

Other potential health risks for Vietnam travel

There are a range of other health risks to take into account before you travel to Vietnam. Most of these risks can be reduced by ensuring you receive vaccinations for Vietnam before you travel and by following simple precautionary hygiene habits like frequent hand washing, practicing social distancing, and taking caution with food and drink consumption.

  • Cholera
    Cholera risk is minimal in Vietnam. Following basic sanitary practices like hand washing and only drinking treated water will significantly reduce your cholera risk.
     
  • Insect Borne Diseases
    Japanese encephalitis, malaria, zika virus, dengue fever, chikungunya, and other insect borne diseases can be prevented by taking steps to avoid mosquito bites. Malaria is found in some parts of Vietnam including rural areas, and as a result anti-malarial tablets may be prescribed depending on where you travel. A vaccine is available for Japanese Encephalitis as above.
     
  • Traveller’s Diarrhoea
    This can affect anywhere from 20%-50% of travellers to Vietnam and can vary from mild to very severe dysentery It can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, and other symptoms. Prevention involves frequent hand washing, only drinking treated water, botted or boiled water, and taking precautions with food and beverage choices. Medications can be provided in a kit to take with you for your trip to self-treat yourself for travellers’ diarrhoea if required.
     
  • Other health risks
    This is not an exhaustive list of illnesses that you may encounter in Vietnam, you may also need to receive vaccinations for diseases such as chickenpox, pneumonia, influenza, shingles, and meningitis. Your medical provider will inform you about additional these and other potential vaccinations that you may need to receive.

Do you need vaccinations for Vietnam?

Although there are no specific vaccinations required for Vietnam travel by Vietnamese law other than potentially yellow fever in some instances, you are strongly recommended to meet with a medical provider to determine which other vaccinations you may need.

Even if you have received many of these vaccinations in the past, you will very likely need some of the above-mentioned vaccinations for Vietnam or boosters before you travel.

Your medical provider will give you specifics on which vaccinations for Vietnam that you are recommended to have based on where you plan on travelling, your prior vaccinations and other health factors.

Travel to Vietnam can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it is important to contact a medical provider specializing in international travel vaccinations as soon as you know you will be travelling to Vietnam.

Speak to a medical provider no later than 6-8 weeks before you travel to Vietnam. This is because it takes time for your immunity to build after receiving a vaccine and you may need to space your vaccinations required for Vietnam apart.

Even if your trip to Vietnam is occurring sooner than this, you should still schedule a consultation because you can receive your required vaccinations on a more urgent schedule.