The COVID-19 pandemic has reawakened people’s concern about health, particularly when traveling to another country. As borders slowly reopen, tourists and visitors to Thailand must consider the vaccinations required for Thailand and whether they will get any jabs before traveling.
Concerning COVID-19, Thailand’s current COVID entry requirements do not state that visitors must have a coronavirus vaccination. However, there are several other Thailand travel vaccinations to think about.
What You’ll Learn in this Article:
- Do You Need Vaccines To Go To Thailand?
- Which Vaccines Are Recommended For Visiting Thailand?
- Which Routine Vaccines Are Best For Thailand Travel?
- What Are Some Common Thailand Travel Vaccines?
- How Can I Stay Safe In Thailand?
Before diving into the details about jabs for Thailand, there are a couple of points worth noting. Firstly, there is a genuine risk of disease in Thailand, particularly for those visiting rural areas away from the major cities.
In 2020, Thailand has a major dengue fever outbreak in the northeastern, or Isan, region with thousands catching the severe flu and death tolls reaching the hundreds. Every year during the rainy season (May to October), dengue fever reemerges and strikes thousands of people.
Beyond dengue fever, many other diseases are high-risk in Thailand. These diseases thrive in unfiltered tap water, dirty canals, unclean street food stalls, and other places.
However, the second point worth noting is that many westerners and western doctors can vastly overstate the risks of catching diseases in Thailand.
If you are careful and sensible while visiting the country, your chances of catching a disease are quite slim. Many travelers visit without getting any injections for Thailand and enjoy a wonderful stay without any health issues.
Having said all of this, arranging Thailand travel vaccinations before your visit is a good move and can help you feel better protected while staying in the Land of Smiles.
Are Vaccines Needed for Thailand?
I touched on this point in the introduction, but it is worth looking at the official advice and local Thai law regarding vaccinations required for Thailand.
Thai law requires anyone who is at risk of carrying yellow fever to present a vaccination certificate when entering or transiting through Thailand. This applies to anyone who has recently visited a country that is considered high-risk concerning yellow fever.
The Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) also offers advice for anyone planning to visit Thailand for more than a couple of weeks.
They suggest that people coming to Thailand should get immunizations against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis.
The NHS (National Health Service) in the United Kingdom adds other shots needed for Thailand to the list including MMR, polio, cholera, malaria, rabies, and yellow fever.
However, the choice of which Thailand travel vaccinations you take is a personal one and can depend on a range of factors including general health condition, age, and health insurance.
It is a personal choice whether you get vaccines to go to Thailand, however, personally, I highly recommend looking into getting protection against some of the more dangerous diseases before your trip.
List of Recommended Thailand Travel Vaccines
Below is a table with a list of recommended travel injections for Thailand as published by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). While they are not vaccinations required for Thailand, the list below shows Thai vaccine recommendations:
|Vaccine||How It Spreads|
|Hepatitis A||Food, Water|
|Hepatitis B||Body Fluids, Blood|
|Rabies||Infected Animal Saliva|
List of Routine Vaccinations to Go to Thailand
Below is a table with a list of routine Thailand travel vaccinations as published by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO). These are not specifically jabs for Thailand, but rather injections that you would routinely receive and can protect you against common Thai diseases:
|Vaccine||How It Spreads|
|Chickenpox||Airborne, Direct Contact|
|Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)||Various|
|Meningitis||Airborne, Direct Contact|
|Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis||Airborne, Wounds|
Understanding Common Thailand Travel Vaccinations
Following on from the lists above, I will go into some of the most common injections for Thailand in more detail. The vaccinations listed below are the ones that most travelers receive before they enter the country.
The most common inoculation for Thailand is the tetanus vaccine. Tetanus is an airborne disease that spreads through soil, dust, and manure. While it is not transmitted by person-to-person contact, it can enter the body through small openings in the skin such as cuts or scrapes.
If contracted, the infected person could display symptoms such as tight jaw muscles, fever, muscle pain, headache, seizures, and increased heart rate. The long-term effects of tetanus include blood clots, breathing issues, and pneumonia.
Getting a tetanus vaccine when traveling to Thailand is certainly a good idea and can put your mind at ease if you are visiting rural areas. You can get the tetanus vaccine at any point before traveling with just one dose being enough to protect you against the disease.
Another common jab for Thailand is the Hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A is a liver disease that spreads via contact with feces. Usually, the disease spreads due to improper personal hygiene such as not properly washing your hands. It can also transmit through unclean water, objects, or food.
Hepatitis A is very common in developing countries around the world due to a lack of proper infrastructure and clean water. The disease affects the liver with symptoms including vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea.
It is standard in most countries to get a Hepatitis A vaccine with some nations scheduling the injections during an infant’s first year. However, if you are not protected against Hepatitis A, the vaccine is administered in two doses, six months apart.
It is very common for people to look into the Hepatitis B vaccine when considering injections for Thailand. Hepatitis B is a dangerous disease as people can become infected without realizing it due to the few visible symptoms.
Hepatitis B disease spreads from sexual contact including unprotected sex, oral sex, and anal sex. Those who engage with sex workers, people with a high number of sexual partners, or men who have sex with other men may have a higher risk of catching the disease.
If you are planning on enjoying Thailand’s famous nightlife and engaging in sexual activity, a jab for Hepatitis B is highly recommended. The Hepatitis B vaccine is administered in three doses over the course of three weeks to six months.
If you are planning to get the Hepatitis A vaccine in addition to the Hepatitis B vaccine, it is possible to administer injections for both diseases at the same time.
Rabies is another injection high on the list for vaccines to go to Thailand. The preventative vaccine for rabies is a very good idea for anyone planning to explore Thailand beyond the major cities. While jabs are available for anyone who suspects they have contracted rabies, a preventative jab can give peace of mind.
Rabies is found primarily in wild animals such as bats, dogs, and other mammals. While you will notice packs of wild dogs hanging around the backstreets of major cities such as Bangkok, the real danger is for those who plan to go camping, hiking, or volunteering in wild animal shelters.
The rabies Thailand vaccine is available both before you travel and locally in clinics across Thailand. You should plan to have the rabies jab at least four weeks before any activities outside of the major cities.
While not high on the list of shots needed for Thailand for everyone, the Japanese encephalitis vaccine is a necessity for anyone with a weak or compromised immune system. While almost unheard of in western nations, Japanese encephalitis has the potential to kill and is spread from contact with infected mosquitos or wild animals.
If you catch Japanese encephalitis, you could experience symptoms ranging from mild to fatal. Symptoms include high fever, brain inflammation, coma, and death. It is particularly prevalent in remote Thai areas during the summer months.
If you plan on getting a Japanese encephalitis vaccination you can receive it in your home country at least four weeks before your arrival date in Thailand. The jab for Japanese encephalitis is administered in two doses.
Although not a Thailand travel vaccine, malaria pills are another common preventative measure taken by Thailand tourists. Malaria can cause fever, nausea, muscle pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Generally, malaria is found in the areas of Thailand that border Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos, in addition to some southern and northern provinces. If you are leaving the major cities of Thailand, a dose of malaria pills is a very good idea.
Pills for malaria are widely available in the form of chloroquine, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Anyone planning to visit a malaria-prone region of Thailand should begin taking the pills a few days before they visit such areas.
Staying Safe in Thailand
Beyond arranging the appropriate travel injections for Thailand, there are some other actions you can take to stay safe while visiting or living in the country.
The most important consideration is the tap water in Thailand. Drinking water is widely available in the local shops or from public water filters on the streets. It is not safe to drink tap water in Thailand.
Practicing good personal hygiene while in Thailand is another priority. Diseases are found in the soils, public waterways, and can spread from touching unclean surfaces. Wash your hands regularly with soap and maintain good hygiene standards to drastically reduce your chances of picking up any diseases.
Another great tip is to carefully choose where you eat. Street food is a wonderful part of Thai culture, but can also act as a breeding ground for disease. Look at the cleanliness of the food vendor’s cooking surface and food storage before you decide where to eat.
Having a great travel insurance plan when visiting Thailand is the best way to maintain peace of mind while in the country. Thailand’s healthcare system is world-class, but without travel insurance, you may find yourself facing very high bills if you fall ill.
To get covered for your trip to Thailand, you can compare a wide range of travel insurance options at Mister Prakan, a local Thai insurance provider with plans from major insurance companies designed specifically for those visiting Thailand.
Now you hopefully have a better understanding of Thailand travel vaccinations and can plan which jabs for Thailand are most suited to your needs. Let us know in the comments below about your experience with travel injections for Thailand and which Thai vaccines you recommend.