Many tourists are unsure what vaccinations are required for Vietnam. While we provide information below you should always check with your doctor. For instance, extra vaccinations may be required depending on the nature of your trip. Also, make sure you read the section below on Dengue Fever. ‘Dengue’ is prevalent in Hoi An, particularly around the rainy season.
Vaccinations Vietnam - what vaccinations should I have?
Visit your doctor at least 3 – 4 weeks before departure as some vaccines take at least two weeks to create immunity.
All travelers to Vietnam
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations (or boosters) for travellers to Southeast Asia:
Hepatitis A (provides almost 100% protection for up to a year; a booster after 12 months provides at least another 20 years’ protection, Tetanus and Typhoid (the vaccine offers around 70% protection and lasts for 2 – 3 years)
Hepatitis B Now considered routine for most travellers. This is frequently administered as a combined vaccination with Hepatitis A. Lifetime protection occurs in 95% of people.
Measles, mumps and rubella Two doses of MMR are required unless you have had the diseases. Many young adults require a booster.
Adult diphtheria Single booster recommended if you’ve had none in the previous 10 years.
These vaccinations are recommended for people traveling for more than one month, or those at special risk:
Japanese B encephalitis Recommended for travelers to endemic areas who will have extensive outdoor exposure. A booster is recommended after 12 months. A sore arm and headache are the most common side effects reported.
Meningitis Single injection.
Rabies Three injections in all. Booster not routinely needed for general travelers.
Tuberculosis Adults should have a TB skin test before and after travel, rather than the vaccination.
Dengue Fever Vietnam
Dengue is around – especially during the rainy season, so make sure you take precautions.
What is Dengue?
Dengue is carried by mosquitoes. There are 4 different subtypes. The disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes that transmit dengue usually breed in urban areas close to human habitation and are most active during daylight hours. However, people should be most vigilant during the hours approaching dusk as this is when most people get bitten.
There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Drink lots of water. Many expats recommend getting yourself on a hospital drip as soon as possible. If you have had dengue, do not think you are immune. You are not. The second time around can be far worse than the first time.
So how do you know if you have it?
Dengue fever is a severe, flu-like illness that affects infants, young children and adults, but seldom causes death.
Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied by 2 of the following symptoms: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash.
Symptoms usually last for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days following the bite from an infected mosquito.
A small but significant number of patients will go on to develop more severe life-threatening forms of the disease.
While a vaccine has recently been developed, it is not yet available to the general public so be particularly vigilant around dawn and dusk to avoid mosquito bites and … Use DEET-based repellents as these are the most effective.
Severe dengue is a potentially deadly complication due to plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or organ impairment. Warning signs occur 3–7 days after the first symptoms in conjunction with a decrease in temperature (below 38°C/100°F) and include: severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness and blood in vomit. The next 24–48 hours is the critical stage; proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and risk of death.
Areas to watch out for
Ankles, behind the knees, arms and neck – all the areas we don’t normally cover
Clothing tips to keep in mind
Wear long-sleeved shirts
Wear long pants and consider tucking your pants into your socks;
Wear light-colored clothing, since mosquitoes are more attracted to darker colors;