Vaccinations for China

For the standard tourist the recommended vaccinations for China include vaccines against Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Tetanus and Diphtheria. Those planning to spend a longer time in China or travelling to rural areas should consider additional vaccinations against conditions like Rabies, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Meningococcal Meningitis.


There are no compulsory requirements for vaccinations for China for entry / exit purposes for travellers entering from Western Europe (including Ireland) but some are recommended for the traveller’s personal protection against some of the food and water diseases.

Most standard tourists should start their vaccines about 4 to 6 weeks before they leave Ireland. However, those undertaking a more extensive trip should consider attending a Topical Medical Bureau clinic earlier.

During the summer months, carry a supply of insect repellent (at least 30% DEET) ointments for your trip and use sensible, light coloured clothing to protect yourself against the mosquitoes and sandflys. The risk of malaria in most of China is very limited (usually southern border regions of the country) but Malaria Prophylactic tablets may be prescribed depending on your actual itinerary. Other serious mosquito borne diseases do occur so these will need to be considered.

The sunlight during the summer months and in Tibet at high elevations can be intense so travellers should bring sun screen and sun-glasses and a sensible wide-brimmed hat.

China is teeming with people and a culture very different to that found in Western Europe. It is a land of many contrasts but travellers generally stay healthy and well if they follow standard common-sense healthcare advice.

Each traveller will require a consultation with regard to their specific trip itinerary and please bare in mind that this information only contains guidelines.


Disease Required Recommended All Travellers Optional
Yellow Fever Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. This live vaccine is given on one occasion at least 10 days before travel (if at all possible) and provides life long cover in the majority of patients. - - - -
Poliomyelitis Poliomyelitis is a viral disease transmitted through oral/faecal contamination and the respiratory route. The vaccine is combined with cover against Tetanus and Diphtheria. Most travellers who have completed their primary course of childhood vaccines will only require a single booster dose to provide cover. Once completed it is expected that cover should last for 10 years. - - - -
Tetanus Tetanus is contracted through contaminated cuts, bites and breaks in the skin. The vaccination provides cover for approximately 10 years in the majority of patients. It is frequently combined with cover against other diseases such as Poliomyelitis, Diphtheria and/or Pertussis. - - Tetanus -
Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is a common disease in many of the hotter regions of the world and usually contracted through contaminated food and water. Cover against Hepatitis A can be given alone or combined with protection against Typhoid or Hepatitis B. Once completed, the Hepatitis A vaccination (given on two occasions 6 to 12 months apart) provides cover for approximately 25 years in the majority of patients. - - Hepatitis A -
Typhoid Typhoid is a bacterial disease contracted through contaminated food and water. This vaccine can be combined with cover against Hepatitis A. Once completed, the Typhoid vaccination given on one occasion provides cover for between 2 to 3 years in the majority of patients - - Typhoid -
Hepatitis B Hepatitis B is a viral disease which is usually transmitted in a very similar fashion to HIV/AIDS through contact with infected body fluids (eg blood exposure and sexually). This vaccine can be combined with cover against Hepatitis A. The standard schedule for Hepatitis B is to administer the vaccine on days 0, 28 and 180. A more rapid schedule can be used in cases where cover is needed more urgently and this is administered on days 0, 7, 21 to 28 and also 365. Following either course (and not before completion) a blood test can be taken to confirm sufficient antibody protection. Where the correct level of antibodies are showing (>100iu) the vaccination is recognised to provide cover for life. - - - Hepatitis B
Rabies Rabies is a viral disease which is usually transmitted through the bite, the lick or the scratch of any infected warm blooded animal. The vaccine is usually administered on days 0, 7 and between 21 to 28. A final 4th vaccine is administered about 1 year later. Once a course is completed, the vaccination provides life long 'immune memory' in the majority of patients BUT after any possible exposure the individual always needs further vaccination to boost antibody production - - - Rabies
Meningococcal Meningitis Meningococcal Meningitis is a bacterial disease which is usually transmitted through the respiratory route. The vaccine is given on one occasion and provides cover against four of the main forms of this disease. Once a course is completed the vaccination provides for over 5 years in the majority of patients. - - - Meningococcal Meningitis
Cholera Cholera / E coli are both food / water borne diseases. This oral vaccine is given on two occasions between 1 to 6 weeks apart before travel. The second dose (frequently given one week after the initial one) should be administered 7 days before potential exposure. Once completed the cover against Cholera is expected to be for about 2 years. The cover against E coli is shorter and thought to be effective for between 3 to 4 months. In travellers who have completed an initial primary course within the past 2 years a single further dose is sufficient to maintain this cover. - - - Cholera
Diphtheria Diphtheria is a bacterial disease transmitted through the respiratory route and also through skin contact. The vaccine is combined with cover against Tetanus & Poliomyelitis or Tetanus & Pertussis and, in those who have completed their childhood vaccines, a single dose provides cover for 10 years. - - - -
Influenza Influenza is a viral disease transmitted through the respiratory route and is very infectious. The vaccine should be given each year in autumn and provides cover for approximately one year. - - - -
Japanese Encephalitis Japanese Encephalitis is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The Ixiaro vaccine is given on two occasions one month apart with a third dose at 12 months. Once completed the vaccine is thought to provide cover for between 2 to 3 years but possibly longer. - - - -
Tick Borne Encephalitis Tick Borne Encephalitis is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. The vaccine is given on two occasions one month apart and a further 3rd dose is given at 12 months. Once completed the vaccine provides cover for between 3 to 5 years. - - - -
Measles / Mumps / Rubella Measles / Mumps / Rubella are viral diseases transmitted mainly through coughs and sneezes (respiratory route). The vaccine is usually given during childhood schedules but coverage in adults can wane and so booster doses (on two occasions one month apart) can provide cover to approximately 95% receiving the vaccine. - - - -
Pertussis Pertussis (Whooping Cough) is a viral disease transmitted mainly through coughs and sneezes (respiratory route). The vaccine is usually given during childhood schedules but coverage in adults can wane and so a booster dose is frequently recommended during pregnancy (to protect the unborn child) and also in those over 50 years of age. - - - -
Malaria Malaria is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito or by a contaminated needle or transfusion. Small risk on lower provinces of the country

Country Profile

Find out more about the health risks you should be aware of when travelling in China by reading the DFA China country information page
or the WHO China country information page.