Wondering what vaccinations you need for Thailand?
If you are planning to travel to Thailand, it is important to make yourself aware of the health risks and vaccinations you may require before you leave. Even though there are no compulsory vaccines for entry to Thailand from Ireland, it is still highly recommended that travellers get certain vaccinations approximately four to six weeks before they leave. These are the vaccinations needed for Thailand that are recommended by the Tropical Medical Bureau.
The bacteria that causes tetanus is found in soil and animal faeces and gains entry to humans through cuts in the skin. The initial signs and symptoms include muscle spasms (particularly of the jaw muscles), neck pain, and sore throat. These symptoms may then progress to difficulty eating or swallowing, body spasms, rapid heart rate, fluctuating blood pressure and excessive secretions. Up to 50% of patients can die from this condition so it is important to protect against it wherever possible by receiving a Tetanus vaccination, prior to your trip to Thailand.
The typhoid vaccination protects against a bacterial disease that is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Insects may also transfer the disease by carrying contaminated material to food that is eaten by humans. The incubation period for typhoid is in the region of 10 to 14 days after infection and its main symptoms are severe headaches and fever. Patients may also develop diarrhoea and constipation. Typhoid is very contagious and if treatment is not commenced early, some patients may perforate their intestinal wall.
Hepatitis A vaccination:
Hepatitis is most commonly known as Yellow Jaundice in Ireland due to the yellow discolouration it causes in patients. It is caused by a small RNA virus which is easily transferred through water and filtration systems due to its size. Aside from water, the disease is mainly transmitted through contaminated fingers and food. Once inside the body, the virus invades liver cells causing flu like symptoms to develop. Although hepatitis A is not life-threatening, infected persons can feel its effects for up to six months and may be off work for up to two months – protect yourself before you travel to Thailand by receiving a Hepatitis A vaccination.
The rabies vaccination is not recommended for all travellers to Thailand, however, those planning on trekking or staying for longer periods should seek to protect themselves against it. The main way it is contracted is through the bite of a warm-blooded animal. In many patients, no symptoms occur until the final days of the disease when they may experience fever, headaches and numbness.
Hepatitis B vaccination:
Like the rabies vaccination, the hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for travellers who are planning to stay in Thailand longer, or those who are going trekking. It is believed that hepatitis B is about 100 times more infectious to humans than HIV. It is usually contracted through contact with body fluids but insects can also play a part in transmission of the disease. At the beginning stages, patients develop flu-like symptoms such as headaches and joint pain. The majority of people do recover, although, they will be long-term carriers of the disease with the potential to infect others.
Other vaccinations for Thailand
Aside from the diseases mentioned above, anyone wishing to travel to more rural areas may also need to vaccinate themselves against tuberculosis, meningococcal meningitis, Japanese B encephalitis and malaria.
Most travellers will have a fantastic time on their holiday to Thailand and experience all of the incredible things the country has to offer. However, remembering that sickness and infection can occur is important and making sure you’re vaccinated could be the difference between having the holiday of a lifetime or one you would rather forget.
Travellers should also make sure they the check safety and political status of the country they are planning to travel to. The Irish government Department of Foreign Affairs website and the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website are two great sources for this kind of information.
Updated February 2024.