Travel safely is rule no. 1, is it not? A large part of that is avoiding any potential diseases you might encounter during your travels. And if you are traveling to Thailand, vaccines for Thailand travel are the best preventive measure.
That is what we will discuss in this guide – which vaccines you should get before you travel to Thailand. We will also talk about preventive measures against diseases endemic to Thailand for which there are no vaccines as well as note areas you should avoid due to a high risk of violence.
But let’s start with the recommended vaccinations for Thailand.
Advisable Vaccinations for Thailand when Traveling from Canada
Before you travel to Thailand, you should make sure that your routine vaccinations, such as MMR, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, etc., are up to date. If they are not, consider getting booster shots to protect yourself. Besides the vaccines that are part of routine immunization, the recommended vaccinations for Thailand are:
Yellow fever is an acute viral infection caused by the yellow fever virus. It is spread through the bites of infected mosquitos. Thailand is considered a no-risk or low-risk country for yellow fever. Consequently, a vaccine against yellow is not one of the recommended vaccines for Thailand if you are traveling directly from Canada.
However, proof of vaccinations against yellow fever is required to enter Thailand if you are traveling from (including transitioning through an airport) a country with high rates of yellow fever. Here, you can find the World Health Organization’s list of countries designated as high-risk for yellow fever.
Additionally, it is advisable to contact a diplomatic or consular office for Thailand to inquire about any other entry requirements.
It is generally recommended that you are vaccinated against COVID-19 if you are traveling to Thailand. However, as of October 1, 2022, proof of vaccination against COVID is not an entry requirement for Thailand. You will not be asked to show a negative antigen or PCR test, either.
The Japanese encephalitis virus (JAV) is a virus related to yellow fever and dengue viruses that causes Japanese encephalitis, a brain infection. It is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes, but cannot be spread person-to-person. JAV is most common in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Far East.
Japanese encephalitis is also present in Thailand. While the risk of contracting JAV in Thailand is low for most travelers, it is recommended that you get vaccinated if you will be staying for longer than 30 days, traveling to endemic areas, or engaging in activities that involve significant contact with mosquitoes.
The IXIARO® vaccine is the only vaccine against Japanese encephalitis currently approved for use in Canada.
Cholera is a bacterial intestinal infection most commonly spread by ingesting food or water contaminated with the Vibrio cholera bacteria. It is closely linked to poor sanitary conditions. The most common symptoms of cholera are vomiting and watery diarrhea. Severe cases of cholera, if left untreated, can be fatal.
Southeast Asia is considered an endemic area for cholera. Fortunately, the disease is easily preventable with vaccination, which is why the vaccine against cholera is one of the recommended vaccines for Thailand.
Typhoid fever is caused by the salmonella bacteria. Similarly to cholera, it is spread through ingestion of contaminated food or water and is linked to poor sanitary conditions. Southeast Asia is considered an endemic area for typhoid. Contact your medical provider to discuss getting a vaccine against typhoid before traveling to Thailand.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver and is one of the most common preventable diseases for travelers. Studies estimate that 44% to 55% of hep A cases in Canada are linked to travel. Consequently, if you haven’t been vaccinated against hepatitis A, it is recommended you do so before traveling to Thailand.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is most often transmitted through sexual contact or via sharing unsterilized needles (e.g., tattooing, acupuncture, drug use). The hepatitis B vaccine is one of the recommended vaccinations for Thailand.
Vaccines against rabies are part of the regular immunization in Canada. Make sure that your and your family’s vaccines are up to date before traveling to Thailand. Rabies is most often spread through the bites of infected animals. Dogs, cats, and monkeys pose the most significant risk in Thailand.
In case you or your family members are bitten by an animal in Thailand, contact a medical provider as soon as possible. The rabies vaccine protects against the disease, but booster doses are needed if you have been exposed to it. If left untreated, rabies is fatal.
Recommended Vaccines for Thailand, Summarized
The following vaccines for travelers to Thailand are recommended:
- Yellow fever (required if you are traveling from a country with high rates of yellow fever infections)
- Japanese encephalitis
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Mosquito-Borne Diseases Endemic to Thailand
Travelers are at risk of dengue fever, malaria, chikungunya, and the Zika virus in Thailand. These diseases are spread through the bites of infected mosquitos. There are no vaccines for these viruses. Consequently, take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites, such as using insect repellent, wearing clothing that covers your entire body, and using mosquito nets.
The Zika virus can also be spread through sexual contact. The Zika virus can cause serious birth defects. Pregnant women or women considering a pregnancy should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to Thailand. It may be advisable to postpone a trip to Thailand if you are pregnant.
Unsafe Areas for Travel in Thailand
As of May 2023, the Canadian Government has deemed the following provinces as high-risk areas due to potential violent attacks from separatist insurgents:
You should avoid all travel to these provinces.
Get Vaccines for Thailand in Toronto
You can get the vaccines for Thailand travel at Everest Whole Health Pharmacy in Toronto. Simply schedule an appointment online and come get vaccinated at your convenience. We also carry medications against common illnesses for travelers, such as anti-malarial drugs and drugs against traveler’s diarrhea.
If you have any questions about the vaccines you need or the medications you should take with you, please contact us to talk to an expert.