You need these vaccinations for your trip

Being ill on holiday is unbearable. But if you don’t get the right vaccinations, your holiday could end on a bad note. Find out all you need to know about vaccinations here and which are recommended for Thailand, Costa Rica, India and other countries.

22.07.2022 8 minutes

Three weeks of beach, surfing and cocktails. That’s how you imagined your holidays in Thailand. But what happens when sea waves turn into bouts of fever? And you spend the end of your holiday in a hospital bed?

This is exactly why you should ask yourself the following questions about vaccinations before your trip.

Which vaccinations are obligatory for your trip?

Check the entry requirements for your destination country. Yellow fever, the COVID-19 vaccination and some other measures are obligatory for entry into certain countries.

You can find the current recommendations for vaccinations in all countries on the Federal Office of Public Health’s (FOPH) website:

FOPH: Vaccinations and malaria protection for trips overseas

You will find recommendations for the most popular destinations, like Thailand, Costa Rica and India, below.

When should you get vaccinated prior to your journey?

Arrange a vaccination appointment six to eight weeks before your departure at the latest. This means you will have enough time if you need a vaccination with several vaccination doses. Are you leaving at short notice? Ensure that your last-minute trip doesn’t get too out of hand: visit a doctor before your trip whatever you do. Sometimes all you need for optimum protection is a booster vaccination. And you can get several vaccinations at once.

Where can you get vaccinated?

Ideally you should seek the advice about which vaccinations are required from an expert in travel medicine. But you can also get vaccinated at your GP or a vaccination pharmacy – unless you need the yellow fever vaccination: You can only get this vaccination from certain doctors and vaccination centres for travel medicine.

Don’t forget to take your vaccination record with you to the appointment. Can’t find it? You should still go to your appointment!

You can get a vaccination record in doctors’ offices or at pharmacies. Or you can order or download one from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH):

FOPH: Vaccination record

When should you take care when getting vaccinations for your trip?

Inform your doctor in the event of

  • Allergies
  • Pregnancy
  • Severe reactions to vaccinations in the past
  • Chronic illnesses or cancer
  • Long-term treatment and regular medication (blood thinners, chemotherapy, cortisone, etc.)
  • HIV infection or AIDS
  • Other irregularities (immune deficiencies, etc.)

In such cases you should discuss with your doctor whether and under which conditions a vaccination makes sense for you.

Which vaccinations are recommended for your trip?

Which other specific vaccinations do you need for your trip overseas? This depends on the following criteria:

  • The travel destination and epidemiological situation there
  • The duration of the stay
  • Your travel style (it makes a difference whether you spend the night in a jungle camp while trekking or in a five-star hotel)
  • City or rural stay

Find out about the situations in each country and discuss your exact destinations with your travel medicine specialist. You can find out more about vaccinations before travelling abroad from our health consultation service.

More information about our health consultation service

Here is a list of all recommended and obligatory vaccinations for Thailand:

Yellow fever

This vaccination is not recommended when travelling from Europe or Asia. It is obligatory for travel within six days of departing from a yellow fever area.

Diphtheria, tetanus

The vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus is part of basic immunisation. As such, most people have already been vaccinated against this during childhood. It is recommended that you check your vaccination status before travelling to ensure optimum protection while overseas.

Hepatitis A

Vaccination ten to fourteen days before departure is recommended

Hepatitis B

Vaccination recommended

  • For extended or repeat stays
  • For risk groups
Typhoid fever

Vaccination recommended for stays of longer than four weeks or for trips into regions with poor access to adequate food hygiene

Rabies

The risk relates to terrestrial rabies – such as canine rabies. Bat rabies is assumed to be prevalent worldwide. If you are scratched or bitten by a mammal during your trip: wash the wound out thoroughly with soap and see a doctor. There is however a global shortage of the immunoglobulins that you need after exposure (post-exposure rabies prophylaxis). As such, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute recommends the vaccination for all travellers.

Japanese Encephalitis

The main transmission time if from May to October. But the risk is generally very low. Vaccination is only recommended

  • For stays of at least two weeks
  • For stays in rural endemic areas
Malaria

The malaria risk in Thailand is generally low. All you need there is mosquito protection. But you should take special care in some border regions:

  • Western and southern regions bordering Myanmar: take preventive medication (as discussed with your doctor).
  • Regions bordering Myanmar (region around Tak), island of Little Koh Chang: take mosquito protection and preventive medication with you for emergencies.
  • Cities of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pattaya: no risk at all

Other notes:

  • The list of vaccination recommendations for travellers with special risks is non-exhaustive.
  • If you are or are suspected to be infected with HIV, you may be denied entry to Thailand.

Here is a list of all recommended and obligatory vaccinations for Costa Rica:

Yellow fever

This vaccination is not recommended when travelling from Europe or Asia. It is obligatory for travel within six days of departing from a yellow fever area.

Diphtheria, tetanus

The vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus is part of basic immunisations. As such, most people have already been vaccinated against this during childhood. It is recommended that you check your vaccination status before travelling to ensure optimum protection while overseas.

COVID-19

Vaccination recommended according to the FOPH:

FOPH: vaccination
Hepatitis A

Vaccination recommended.

Hepatitis B

Vaccination recommended

  • For extended or repeat stays
  • For risk groups
Typhoid

Vaccination recommended for stays of longer than four weeks or for risk groups or for trips into regions with poor access to adequate food hygiene.

Rabies

The risk relates to terrestrial rabies – such as canine rabies. Bat rabies is assumed to be prevalent worldwide. If you are scratched or bitten by a mammal during your trip: wash the wound out thoroughly with soap and see a doctor. There is however a global shortage of the immunoglobulins that you need after exposure (post-exposure rabies prophylaxis). As such, protection through vaccination is recommended in the following cases:

  • for extended stays in the affected areas
  • For high-risk travel (primarily where there is poor access to medical care, for instance on hiking or bike tours in rural areas)
  • For personnel working with animals or in caves (bats)

You can find important information about rabies on the Federal Office of Public Health’s (FOPH’s) website.

FOPH: Information about rabies
Malaria
  • In the provinces Limón, Heredia, Alajuela, Puntarenas: minimal risk, only mosquito protection required
  • Other regions, including San José: No risk

Here is a list of all recommended and obligatory vaccinations for India:

Yellow fever

This vaccination is not recommended when travelling from Europe or Asia. It is obligatory for travel within six days of departing from a yellow fever area.

Poliomyelitis

Obligatory when travelling from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria, Nigeria or Pakistan.

The vaccination must

  • take place four weeks at the latest and no more than a year before entry
  • Be documented in the international vaccination record
Diphtheria, tetanus

The vaccination against diphtheria, tetanus is part of basic immunisation. As such, most people have already been vaccinated against this during childhood. It is recommended that you check your vaccination status before travelling to ensure optimum protection while overseas.

COVID-19

Vaccination recommended according to the FOPH:

FOPH: vaccination
Hepatitis A

Vaccination recommended

Hepatitis B

Vaccination recommended

  • For extended or repeat stays
  • For risk groups
  • For visitors from Hajj/Umrah Saudi Arabia
Typhoid fever

Vaccination recommended for stays of over a week

Rabies

The risk relates to terrestrial rabies – such as canine rabies. Bat rabies is assumed to be prevalent worldwide. If you are scratched or bitten by a mammal during your trip: wash the wound out thoroughly with soap and see a doctor. There is however a global shortage of the immunoglobulins that you need after exposure (post-exposure rabies prophylaxis). As such, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute recommends vaccination for all travellers.

Japanese Encephalitis

The main transmission time in the North is from May to November, and all year round in the South. But the risk is generally very low. Vaccination is only recommended

  • For stays of at least two weeks
  • For stays in rural endemic areas
Malaria

The malaria risk in India varies between the North and the North East and the rest of the country. Altitude plays a role too:

Below 2000 m above sea level

  • In the East and North East: increased risk. Take or carry preventive medication depending on the region.
  • The rest of the country, incl. Delhi, Rajasthan, Mumbai and the Andaman Islands: minimal risk, only mosquito protection required

Above 2000 m above sea level

  • Altitudes Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, Kashmir and Sikkim: No risk

Unfortunately there is no vaccination against malaria. But depending on the country and region, it is advisable to take or carry preventive medication with you on the trip. Seek advice from a specialist for travel medicine regarding this four to six weeks before departure.

You can find the most important information about preventing malaria on the Federal Office of Public Health’s (FOPH’s) website.

FOPH: Malaria

Which countries have a malaria risk?

World map: Malaria risk

The following countries are yellow fever regions:

Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Columbia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, D.R.C., Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Sâo Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Venezuela, Zambia.

The following are exempt from the vaccination requirement

  • Persons over 60 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding women
  • Children under the age of 9 months

Is your destination country not listed? No problem. You can find the complete list with vaccination recommendations for all countries on the Federal Office of Public Health’s (FOPH’s) website.

FOPH: Vaccinations and malaria protection for all countries

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