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Expat guide to vaccinations in Thailand
Thailand is a world of opportunity for ambitious professionals. But it’s important to remember that you or your family could be exposed to health issues that you’ve never had to think about before.
Understanding which vaccinations you need in Thailand is essential when planning your move. Try to seek advice and start receiving any relevant vaccines up to six weeks before moving.
What vaccines do I need in Thailand?
This will depend on which part of Thailand you are going to, how you’re travelling, and how long you plan to stay.
All travellers need vaccines for: Tetanus, Hepatitis A & Typhoid
However you could need others, depending on your plans when you arrive in Thailand. The following extra vaccines should be received for anyone travelling to rural areas:
• Japanese Encephalitis
If your work, lifestyle or underlying health means you are at increased risk of infections, you need to be up to date with any additional vaccines. Living in a crowded urban area, for example, could leave you more at risk of becoming infected with diphtheria, so you may consider whether you are protected against this condition and seek further vaccination if necessary.
7 deaths from Rabies in Thailand – Jan-Aug 2016
If you want to go trekking, you will need jabs for Hepatitis B given the increased chance of water-borne infection. You will also be more likely to encounter wild animals, so a Rabies vaccine is advised. But even with a Rabies vaccine, urgent medial attention should be sought after any animal bite.
Keep an eye on children’s vaccines – they need various jabs at different life stages
It is worth assessing which of the above diseases children could be more at risk to, for example Hepatitis B given the increased risks involved.
It’s worth closely monitoring the vaccination schedule for children up to the age of 12. They need the standard child vaccines at various stages in their development, in addition to any additional jabs for moving to Thailand. It can be easy to lose track and miss one.
Any family member over the age of nine months will need a certificate of Yellow Fever vaccination if you have either came from a country at risk, or transited through one for more than 12 hours.
You should also speak to a GP before leaving if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are often advised to consider postponing travel to places that require vaccines.
If this is unavoidable, you need to weigh up the risks. Catching a disease could be much more harmful to you and your baby than the vaccine itself.
Although there is no risk of malaria in Thailand’s major cities, there is a low risk in certain rural areas. Travellers visiting the following regions should take a course of malaria tablets:
• Rural and forested areas at the border to Burma, Cambodia and Laos
• Rural and forested areas in Phang Nga and Phuket
There are other circumstances in which you will be advised against having vaccines. For example, if you are receiving chemotherapy or have recently had a bone marrow or organ transplant. The impact on your immune system can make vaccines too risky.
It is worth remembering to be up to date on all vaccines required in your home country, too. Try not to assume that any vaccinations are still effective if you’ve had them before. Check that they are all still valid and arrange for boosters if necessary.