As you prepare for your forthcoming trips, one important aspect often overlooked is ensuring you have the necessary vaccinations. When planning a journey to exotic locations like Vietnam, vaccines can play a pivotal role in protecting you from various diseases native to the region.
In this article, we’ll help you navigate through the necessary vaccines that are either highly recommended or advisory when travelling from the UK to Vietnam.
Highly Recommended Vaccines
Hepatitis A: An unpleasant disease that brings severe flu-like symptoms and jaundice, Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water or close contact with an infected person. The vaccine is usually administered in two doses six to twelve months apart, and it’s wise to get the first dose at least two weeks before your journey.
Tetanus: While not Vietnam-specific, tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that can enter your system through wounds or minor scratches. The disease can lead to muscle stiffness and painful spasms. Having up-to-date tetanus protection is a necessity, and the standard UK immunization schedule covers this.
Typhoid: Caused by contaminated food and water, typhoid fever can cause high fever, headache, and abdominal pain. A single dose injection can offer protection up to three years, or you can opt for oral capsules taken over several days.
While they may not be considered essential, the following advisory vaccinations offer an extra level of safety for certain groups of travellers:
Cholera: This vaccine is particularly recommended if you’re planning to visit rural areas, refugee camps, or regions where Vietnam’s recent cholera outbreak has been reported. This intestinal infection can cause severe diarrhoea and dehydration. The vaccine is usually given as a drink in two separate doses taken one to six weeks apart.
Hepatitis B: This sexually transmitted disease is also spread through contaminated blood and various body fluids. The vaccination is recommended if you’ll be staying in Vietnam for an extended period or may need medical care while you’re there. This vaccine is usually administered in three doses over a six-month period.
Japanese Encephalitis: While instances are relatively rare, Japanese Encephalitis is a serious infection spread through mosquito bites. Travellers who plan to stay for a long time or visit rural areas during the rainy season can benefit from this vaccination.
Rabies: Rabies is a lethal disease transmitted through bites, scratches or licks on broken skin from an infected animal, and it’s an increasing problem in more rural parts of Vietnam. Vaccines are suggested for those planning adventure activities, considering longer trips, or those going to remote areas where access to prompt medical care could be limited.
Tuberculosis (TB): Essentially a lung condition, TB can also affect other parts of the body. It’s airborne spread makes it highly contagious. While the risk of catching tuberculosis in Vietnam is relatively low for most travellers, the vaccine is recommended for those planning to live, work, or stay for extended periods in Vietnam.
Remember, the immune system usually takes two weeks to respond to a vaccine fully, so aim to have your jabs well before your departure date. Vaccinations will depend greatly on your personal health circumstances, the length and nature of your visit, and your previous immunisation history. It’s essential to consult with a travel nurse or a travel clinic to discuss the vaccines you require.
While vaccinations can cover you against several diseases, remember to also prioritise hygiene practices during your trip, like frequent handwashing and consuming safe food and water, to reduce the chance of illnesses.
Make your travel to Vietnam a pleasant one, and let vaccinations be an integral part of your journey, keeping you safe and ensuring that you bring back only wonderful memories of your adventure! Enjoy
Information provided in this article is correct as of 4th September 2023