Travel Vaccinations for Koh Samui, Thailand

Travel Vaccinations for Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui is not only one of the loveliest and most exciting places to spend your holiday in Thailand, but, at present, it is also one of the safest in post-coup Thailand. Koh Samui seems virtually untouched by the otherwise general unrest and protest activity that affects most regions in the country, but, in addition, it is at low risk for Malaria.

Don’t be misled, however, into thinking that you don’t need to be protected and aware of certain risks that always come with overseas travel. For, although you don’t need to worry about Malaria, you must bear in mind that you are vulnerable to certain diseases, especially, when travelling to countries with tropical climates.

As you begin preparing for your trip to Koh Samui, first on your mind should be a visit to your family Doctor for a full medical check-up, and a review of past immunisations. During your visit, remember to ask your Doctor for renewals on any prescription medication you will require for the duration of your holiday.

Make sure you book an appointment at least 6 weeks prior to your planned departure to discuss travel vaccinations. During your visit, we shall discuss with you the vaccinations that we recommend for Koh Samui, and determine whether any of these are contra-indicated, either due to medication you are taking, or other sensitivities.

1. Routine Vaccinations for Koh Samui, Thailand
Prior to any travel you need to ensure you are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations. 

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio Vaccination
Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio area all serious and potentially life threatening diseases. Most travellers should have been vaccinated as part of the UK national vaccination schedule. A booster every ten years is recommended by the World Health Organisation. Vaccination is given as a single dose as part of the combined DTP Vaccination.

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio, Revaxis, Single Dose: £28

Measles, Mumps and Rubella
Measles, Mumps and Rubella are serious and potentially life threatening diseases. Most travellers should have been vaccinated as part of the UK national vaccination schedule. Vaccination is given as a course of two as part of the combined MMR Vaccination.

Measles Mumps and Rubella, MMR, Course of Two: £45 per dose

2. Courses and Boosters advised for Travel to Koh Samui, Thailand
Most people travelling to Thailand require the following travel vaccinations.

Hepatitis A Vaccination
Hepatitis A effects the functioning of the liver. It is found in areas that have poor sanitation and is common in Africa, Asia, Middle East and South America. There are a number of options for vaccination including single and combined vaccinations.

Hepatitis A Adult, Epaxyl, Single Dose: £42
Hepatitis A Child, Epaxyl, Single Dose: £42
Hepatitis A and Typhoid, Single Dose, Viatim: £87
Hepatitis A and B Adult, Twinrix, Course of Three: £60 per dose
Hepatitis A and B Child, Twinrix, Course of Three £40 per dose
Hepatitis A and B Child, Ambrix, Course of Three, £55 per dose

Typhoid Vaccination
Typhoid is a serious bacterial infection which causes acute inflammation of the liver. Left untreated, Typhoid can be fatal. It is found throughout the world in areas that have poor sanitation including Africa, Central and South America, South Asia and India, the Middle East. There are a number of options for vaccination including single, combined and oral vaccination.

Typhoid, Typhim Vi, Single Dose: £50
Hepatitis A and Typhoid, Viatim, Single Dose: £87
Typhoid Oral, Vivotiff, Course of Three, £50 for the course

3. Additional Vaccinations for Koh Samui, Thailand
Following a risk assessment based on your itinerary, length of stay, occupational and personal risks you may be advised additional travel vaccinations for Thailand, including:

Rabies Vaccination
Rabies is a very serious disease that is spread by infected mammals such as dogs, bats and monkeys. A rabies vaccine is crucial for extended or repetitive travel anywhere in the world and is given as a course of three over 21 to 28 days.

Rabies, Rabipur, Course of three, £50 per dose

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccination
Japanese Encephalitis causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and can cause brain damage and can also be fatal. It is spread by infected mosquitoes across South-East Asia and Japan. Vaccination is a course of two 28 days apart.

Japanese Encephalitis, Ixiario, Course of Two: £85 per dose

Hepatitis B Vaccination
Hepatitis B affects the functioning of the liver and is spread by coming into contact with infected bodily fluids. High risk activities include sexual intercourse, sharing needles and through medical intervention using unsterile equipment. There are a number of options for vaccination including single and combined vaccinations.

Hepatitis B Adult, EnergixB, Course of Three, £35 per dose
Hepatitis B Child, EnergixB Junior, Course of Three, £35 per dose
Hepatitis A and B Adult, Twinrix, Course of Three: £60 per dose
Hepatitis A and B Child, Twinrix, Course of Three £40 per dose
Hepatitis A and B Child, Ambrix, Course of Three, £55 per dose

Cholera Vaccination
Cholera is spread by contaminated food and water found in areas with poor sanitation. It can cause severe diarrhoea which can lead to dehydration. If left untreated cholera can be fatal. The vaccination is administered orally, two doses given over one to six weeks. 

Cholera, Dukorol, Course of Two: £28 per dose

 Yellow Fever Requirements for Thailand

There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Thailand. However under International Health Regulations (2005), travellers who have been to an area affected by Yellow Fever, or who have travelled via an airport of a country affected, are required to present an International Certificate of Vaccination (ICVP) before they are allowed to enter Thailand.

Yellow Fever is a serious viral illness spread by mosquitoes in the tropical regions of Africa and South America. It causes severe flu-like symptoms which can develop into a serious illness including haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. The Yellow Fever Vaccination is given as a single dose that you need to have at least ten days prior to travel.

 Risk of Malaria in Thailand

Malaria is not considered a risk in Koh Samui  or Thailand’s major cities including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or tourist resorts including Koh Phangan and Pattaya. It is however is considered a high risk in other areas of Thailand including the boarder areas with Burma, Cambodia and Laos which are rural and heavily forested. If you plan to spend time here you may need malaria prophylaxis. Chang Mai and Chang Rai in the north are considered low to no risk.

Travellers to areas where there is a risk of malaria should get advice regarding medication which can be taken to help stop the illness from developing. The type of medication required depends on your destination, itinerary, length of stay and current medical condition. Further reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by using insect repellant such as DEET 50% and covering up exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers.

Malaria is a viral illness spread by mosquitoes that bite from dusk to dawn throughout the tropical world. It causes high fever and severe joint and muscle pains. In serious cases, malaria can be fatal.

Non-Vaccine Preventable Diseases for Thailand

Dengue Fever is a mosquito-borne disease common throughout the tropics of South-East Asia, including Thailand. Unlike Malaria, the mosquitoes that carry the Dengue Fever virus tend to bite mainly during the daytime. Those infected with the disease suffer from severe aches and pains in the muscles and bones and develop flu like symptoms. Travellers can reduce the risk of getting Dengue Fever by avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes including covering up areas of exposed skin with long trousers and long sleeves as well as wearing insect repellant such as DEET 50%. There is no vaccination for Dengue Fever, treatment is supportive only.

Schistosomiasis cases have been reported in Thailand but the risk to travellers is considered to be low. Schistosomiasis is a tiny flatworm which infect freshwater snails which produces a larvae which penetrates the skin of people who come into contact with infested freshwater rivers and lakes. The larvae penetrate the blood vessels and move to the liver where they develop in to worms.  Schistosomiasis can be treated early with an anti parasitic drug called praziquantel. It is best however to avoid swimming or bathing in high risk areas.

 General Travel Health Risks for Thailand

Medical Care in Thailand

Medical Care in Thailand is generally of a high standard, and there is a good local hospital as well as other facilities on the island. Bear in mind that the symptoms of tropical diseases could be unfamiliar, so if you feel at all ill, it is best to see a Doctor as soon as possible.

Prior to departure, contact your Insurance provider to confirm that they will continue coverage while you are visiting Thailand, since some insurance companies refuse coverage in countries under martial law. You should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance to cover any eventualities.

Travel Health Risks in Koh Samui, Thailand

Once you have taken care of the necessary travel vaccinations and preventative measures to protect your health, the only risks you will be facing in Koh Samui will be on the roads and in the bars and resorts. Be on lookout for reckless, inexperienced, or drunk drivers on scooters, petty theft, either in hotel rooms, or in public places, drink and food-spiking. Never leave your drink or meal unattended.

Scams, and hustles. Don’t let a stranger act as your ‘guide’ or in other cases, talk you into a situation that could be very costly or even dangerous. If a total stranger offers you a ‘Fantastic deal’ on gem stones, walk away. Your safety and well-being in Koh Samui, on land, and in the sea, is ultimately your responsibility, and a good helping of basic commonsense can be the most valuable tool at your disposal.