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What shots do I need for Southeast Asia?

If you are traveling to Southeast Asia, there is a good chance you'll need some shots. The shots you need will depend on (a) what part of Southeast Asia, (b) how long you're staying, (c) what you will be doing while there, and (d) your immunization and medical history. 

Southeast Asia vaccine checklist

White Washed Wood

CDC vaccine recommendations for Southeast Asian countries

Country
Typhoid
Japanese encephalitis
Cholera
Other
Brunei
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Cambodia
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
East Timor
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Indonesia
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Polio booster for adults
Laos
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Malaysia
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Myanmar
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Philippines
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Recommended for some travelers
Singapore
Recommended
Thailand
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*
Vietnam
Recommended
Recommended for some travelers*

* Patients traveling to these countries for a month or more, spending extended periods of time outdoors, or are uncertain about their travel duration or activities are recommended to receive the Japanese encephalitis vaccine.

counry vaccine recs

Japanese encephalitis and typhoid in Southeast Asia

Typhoid and Japanese encephalitis are the two most frequently recommended vaccines for travel to Southeast Asia. Both of these vaccines are safe and effective. Both of the diseases they protect against are deadly or disabling. 

Typhoid vaccine: This vaccine provides protection from typhoid fever which is mainly spread through contaminated food and water. You can choose from an oral vaccine or an injection. 

Japanese encephalitis vaccine: This vaccine protects against Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus which is spread by mosquitoes. JE is a year-round threat in warmer climates and a seasonal threat in more northerly parts of East Asia. It is recommended for travelers who will be in the area for a long time, or who have a lot of exposure due to their activities while there (around water, rural areas, etc.). 

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JE and typhoid
Vietnamese women rowing their boat on Yen Stream, Ha Noi, Vietnam
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You may need malaria pills too

There is currently no vaccine in the U.S. for malaria but there are drugs you can take to help prevent malaria. Talk to a travel health specialist about your options. Whether you need to take malaria pills really depends on where you go and what you're doing while there.   

Map shows 2020 rate of malaria from Malaria Atlas Project

malaria pills

Talk to a travel health nurse 

Perhaps the most important thing when preparing for you travels is to consult with one of our highly trained and experienced travel health nurses in your area so that you can get (a) expert health advice and (b) the correct vaccinations and medications for your trip. 

talk to a travel health nurse
Tuk-Tuk parking by Sanam Luang

Other vaccines that may be needed

We give these vaccines far less frequently than the vaccines mentioned above but they are still important for certain travelers. 

  • Rabies vaccine is important for travelers who expect to have a lot of exposure to animals—especially dogs—while traveling.

  • Routine childhood immunizations are essential for all travelers. Some travelers may need to update their tetanus/diptheria/pertussis immunization (Tdap) if it has been more than 10 years. Hepatitis A and B vaccines have only been part of routine childhood vaccine series since 1994, so you may need to get these shots as well before you travel. Lastly (and this is not exhaustive) there is a worldwide polio outbreak spreading and the CDC is asking travelers to many locations to get a one-time adult booster for polio. 

  • Cholera vaccinat is recommended for certain travelers visiting areas hard hit by natural disasters and which lack modern sanitation and water treatment. For example, Haiti was a hotbed for cholera after it was stuck by the big earthquake in 2010. 10,000 people died in Haiti from cholera alone.

For recommendations specific to you, please set up an appointment to speak with one of our travel health nurses

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