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Vaccinations for Thailand
Are you going to Thailand?
When travelling to Thailand from the UK for work, a holiday or a family visit it’s important to bear in mind that there are a few different health precautions that must be taken, both before leaving the country and once you arrive.
Mosquito bite prevention is recommended to protect against malaria (low risk) and other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever. Certain vaccines are recommended whilst others may be considered depending on your individual risks and activities.
It’s advised that you speak to your GP or a travel health practitioner at least six weeks before you leave for Thailand in order to get an individual risk assessment for your trip. In the meantime, read on to learn which vaccines may be advised. Enter your holiday details into our Vaccination Checker to receive an up to date health recommendation.
What vaccinations do I need for Thailand?
There are no compulsory vaccinations for Thailand, but there are some which travel health professionals will strongly recommend. To find out which vaccines you will likely need, talk to your GP or travel health practitioner, or use our Vaccination Checker.
British vaccines and boosters
The first thing to do is to make sure that you are up to date on all your British vaccines and boosters. Most of these are administered when you are a baby or in school; if you can’t remember which vaccinations you have received, you should consult your GP as they should be able to give you a record of all your past immunisations.
If you are up to date on your British immunisations, it’s recommended that you receive a tetanus booster. A tetanus booster is recommended for anyone travelling to Thailand who has not received a dose of the vaccine within the past decade.
If you have never received the recommended five doses of the tetanus vaccine, it’s advisable that you receive as many of the three initial vaccine doses before you leave. You should receive your remaining doses when you return from Thailand.
Tetanus is a type of bacteria found in soil and animal manure. It can enter the skin through open wounds, and cause muscle stiffness, a fever and painful spasms.
Most people who receive the tetanus booster when travelling to Thailand will have it administered as part of the diphtheria, polio & tetanus booster.
Other Thailand vaccines
Along with tetanus, it’s also advised that you consider getting vaccinated against the following diseases depending on your individual risks:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
Cholera is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated water or food. It causes diarrhoea, nausea and stomach cramps, and is most widespread in areas with poor sanitation and limited access to clean drinking water. The vaccine is administered as a drink, and not an injection.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection affecting the nose and throat, and spread through infected droplets from coughs and sneezes. It is more common in poor, overcrowded locations. The diphtheria vaccine can be received as part of the diphtheria, polio & tetanus booster.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection which affects the liver. It is spread in the faeces of infected people; in areas of Thailand with poor sanitation, food and water can become contaminated. The disease can cause serious liver complications.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection affecting the liver, which is spread through blood and bodily fluids. When travelling through Thailand, you can put yourself at risk of hepatitis B by sharing needles or equipment, having unprotected sex, or receiving a tattoo, body piercing or any medical or dental treatment. The hepatitis B vaccine is available on its own, or in combination with the hepatitis A vaccine.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral brain infection spread by mosquitoes. It is most common in rural areas, and though it is uncommon in travellers, it can occasionally cause severe symptoms and even death. If you are planning on spending a lot of time in rural Thailand, it could be worth receiving the vaccine.
Rabies is a viral infection typically transmitted via the bite of an infected dog that is nearly always fatal. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while in Thailand, you run the risk of being exposed to rabies and you may require emergency treatment. Treatment is easier to administer if you have already received the vaccine, which is delivered in three doses over several weeks.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection common in areas with poor sanitation. It is spread in the faeces of an infected person; when food or water becomes contaminated with the bacteria, it can spread to other people. The typhoid vaccine can be administered as a single injection, in three capsules that are swallowed, or as part of the hepatitis A-typhoid immunisation.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection transmitted through respiratory droplets. It mainly affects the lungs, causing coughing, fatigue, difficulty breathing and a fever. The vaccine is usually only recommended for children staying in Thailand for a long period, or health workers.
Where to get injections for Thailand
You can receive your jabs for Thailand through a number of different services. The NHS will usually provide the following travel vaccines for free:
- Cholera (under certain circumstances)
- Diphtheria, polio & tetanus
- Hepatitis A & typhoid
To receive these vaccines, visit your GP and speak to them about arranging an appointment to receive your injections.
The remaining Thailand vaccinations are not usually available for free on the NHS. You may still be able to receive them at your GP surgery, but if not, you can visit a private clinic like MASTA .If you are pregnant, travelling as a group or with children you can have a face-to-face or over the phone consultation at a MASTA travel clinic.
Enter your details into our Vaccination Checker to receive up to date vaccination recommendations and considerations.
The cost of Thailand vaccinations
The cost of getting vaccinated for Thailand varies depending upon where you obtain your vaccines, whether or not you are entitled to any free on the NHS, and whether you are receiving a booster or the full course.
The hepatitis B vaccine requires three doses, the Japanese encephalitis vaccine requires two doses, the rabies vaccine requires three doses, and the tuberculosis vaccine requires one dose. However please bear in mind that the Pharmacy clinics cannot administer the tuberculosis vaccine.
To reduce the costs associated with your Thailand injections, make sure that you consult your doctor or a travel health expert about your specific risk, and whether you are entitled to any of the vaccines listed above on the NHS.