Travel vaccinations for Vietnam
Vietnam is a land of beautiful beaches, incredibly friendly people and one of the best soups known to man – phở. Regardless of whether you are travelling there short or long-term, you will need vaccinations for Vietnam. Which ones you need will depend on:
- Activities you will likely be doing – if you are outdoors a lot, this increases the risk of infectious disease and needs to be taken into account.
- The quality of your accommodation and food – high quality doesn’t eliminate the risk of infection, but it does help.
- Your own health and your history of disease.
- How long you plan on staying in Vietnam and your additional travel plans around this trip.
We recommend getting your Vietnam vaccinations in UK, 6-8 weeks before your travel. If this is not possible, book in for late vaccinations as soon as you can to give your body the best chance to fight off any harmful bacteria it encounters.
What jabs do I need for Vietnam?
MMR (Measles, mumps & rubella) & DTaP (Diphtheria, tetanus & polio)
MMR and DTaP are vaccinations needed for Vietnam and it is highly likely that you will need a tetanus booster, so be sure to see a travel health professional who can administer this and top you up for any of the others.
Typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera
Vietnamese food consists of a lot of fresh vegetables, such as sprouts, carrots, and coriander, and there is a risk that these will have been rinsed with contaminated water instead of bottled water you’re advised to drink while you’re in Vietnam.
Because of this, we strongly advise that you include typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera as part of your Vietnam travel vaccinations. These diseases are all transferred to humans by contaminated food and water. Immunising against them means that you don’t need to be as highly selective about what you are eating while you’re on holiday.
Hepatitis B may be one of the injections for Vietnam that some travellers need. Bodily fluids, particularly sexual fluids, and needles are responsible for transferring this to humans. Book in with one of our travel health professionals to get the right advice for your trip.
Rabies is a problem across most parts of Asia. One of the biggest risks with contracting rabies while you are travelling is the immediate medical attention it requires. It is an incurable disease but it needs to be managed straight away in order not to be fatal. Seek advice from a travel health professional about whether the type of trip means that you should have a rabies as part of your injections for Vietnam. You should also look at your travel insurance as some companies do not cover medical costs for rabies.
Mosquitoes are a huge pest in Vietnam, no matter what time of year you travel. So, it is a good idea to look at protecting yourself against the diseases they carry. Japanese encephalitis is a viral brain infection that is spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms generally appear in 5-15 days of receiving the bite and the disease causes swelling of the brain and is potentially fatal. It is well worth speaking to a travel health specialist about including this as one of your jabs for Vietnam.
Avoid insect bites by keeping yourself covered during peak times and using an insect repellent with 50% DEET in it.
|Vaccination||All Travellers||Most Travellers||Some Travellers||Major Risk|
|MMR||Yes||Person-to-Person||Measles, mumps, rubella, Course of Two||£50|
|DTaP||Yes||Person-to-Person||Tetanus, Diptheria, polio, Single Dose||£40|
|Typhoid||Yes||Contaminated Food and Water||Typhoid, single dose||£50|
|Hepatitis A||Yes||Contaminated Food and Water||Hepatitis A, Single Dose||£60|
|Cholera||Yes||Contaminated Food and Water||Cholera, for course of 2||£35|
|Hepatitis B||Yes||Body Fluids, Medical Intervention||Hepatitis B, Course of Three||£65|
|Japanese Encephalitis||Yes||Mosquitoes||Japanese encephalitis, Course of Two||£90|
|Rabies||Yes||Infected Animals||Rabies, Course of Three||£65|
Advice for travellers to all destinations
The Vaccinations and Medications that are needed for travel vary from person-to-person. Everyone should have a personal risk assessment with a travel health professional to take into account a range of factors such as itinerary, medical condition, occupational and lifestyle risk factors and previous vaccination history.
Risk of malaria in Vietnam
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. For more information, see Malaria.
Travellers to areas where there is a Risk of Malaria should get advice regarding Malaria 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 by practising mosquito Bite Avoidance by using insect repellent such as DEET 50% and covering exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers.
Risk of yellow fever in Vietnam
Yellow Fever is a serious viral illness spread by mosquitoes in the tropical regions of Africa and South America. For further information, please see Yellow Fever Vaccination.
Additional travel risks for Vietnam
Vietnam is a largely Buddhist country and under communist rule. Due to the numerous Chinese attempts at invasion, the Chinese influence can be seen throughout Vietnam. Grab your bicycle and explore Vietnam – but don’t forget your all-important jabs before heading off.
Heat and humidity
In Vietnam, there are different weather patterns depending on the area you travel to. You could face warm and dry, cool and dry or hot an wet and anything in between. Check the weather for the period you are travelling, as you will need to pack adequately and take reasonable precautions to avoid sunburn and heatstroke.
All over Vietnam you can get dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis from insects and bugs.There has recently been an increase in the incidences of reports of Dengue Fever throughout Vietnam. Take steps to avoid insect bites including wearing insect repellent such as DEET 50% and covering areas of exposed skin with long sleeves and trousers.
Street dogs, cats, bats and rodents are common throughout the cities and rural areas of Vietnam. If you get bitten or scratched by an animal you will need to get urgent medical attention. Animal bites expose you to a range of infections including rabies.
Between May to November tropical cyclones can affect the eastern costal areas of Vietnam. Follow local advice and evacuation orders should you get caught in a storm.
Parts of Vietnam are higher than 2500m, so depending on where you go, altitude sickness could be a problem. You can obtain altitude sickness medication and practice appropriate acclimatisation and gradual ascents to counter altitude sickness. Don’t forget, its not just your climbing altitude but your sleeping altitude as well that must be considered.
Food and drink
Fresh and delicious food is abundant in Vietnam however beware of contaminated food from street vendors. There have been reports of a number of deaths due to people drinking wine with high levels of methanol. Avoid any wines without a recognised brand name or if you suspect that it may have been tampered with.
It is generally not recommended that you drink the tap water in Vietnam. Buy bottled water and use this for drinking and brushing your teeth. Some of the most common bottled water brands in the Vietnam are Aquafina, Vinh Hao and La Vie.
Make sure you have health insurance in place that will cover the full range of activities you plan to undertake while you are in Vietnam.
Petty crime such as bag snatching and pick pocketing is high in Vietnam, especially the big cities. Make sure you know the price of food before eating and always have a back up plan for returning to your abode should your tour vehicle ‘break down’.
Travellers to Vietnam can be exposed to the risk of Travellers Diarrhoea. Use alcohol gel, wash your hands regularly and monitor what you are putting in your mouth.
There is still a risk of Zika virus in Vietnam. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, it’s advisable to speak to a travel health specialist who can let you know the most up to date information as there is no vaccination available for this.
Is it safe to travel to Vietnam?
Vietnam is largely considered a safe country to travel to. Because of the rise in tourism, larger cities such as Hanoi see higher rates of crime but no more so than most other major cities. Landmines also still exist in Vietnam – these shouldn’t be an issue unless you are going off the tourist trail. Lonely Planet has a thorough guide to staying safe in Vietnam, which you should take a look at before you go.
Useful resources and contacts for Vietnam
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): Travel Advice for Vietnam.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): British Consulate-General Ho Chi Minh City
British Council: British Council in Vietnam
British Consulate-General Ho Chi Minh City
25 Le Duan Street,
Ho Chi Minh City
Telephone+84 (0)8 3825 1380
In the neighbourhood, Southeast Asia
If you are travelling further afield throughout Southeast Asia make sure you check out the vaccination injections that you need for every country that you are going to.