Nurse with Needle
If you are coming to Thailand or traveling anywhere in the world, you want to have hepatitis A and B shots and be up to date on tetanus and typhoid. The hepatitis vaccinations last for life, but the other two should be renewed periodically.

The hepatitis B is three or four shots given over a period of time, but all the others you can get with one health department or doctor visit. If you are coming to Thailand soon and do not have time to complete the B series, start it and then learn what more you will need from your doctor. You can complete the series in Thailand.

Whether you travel or not, you should have had the standard measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT), poliovirus, etc. vaccines as a child. These diseases hardly ever occur in the U.S. because so many children get vaccinated there is no one from which to catch them. You should still get these vaccinations if you have not already. If you travel, it is even more important, because you are more likely to run into these diseases in other countries.

Immunizations you wonít need are Japanese encephalitis and rabies. The first is expensive in the U.S., maybe because there is so little call for it. In the last 40 years there have been only 40 cases of this in travelers to all of Asia. Unless you had an encounter with a suspect animal the rabies shot is unavailable in the U.S. due to supply restrictions. If you want these immunizations you can get them at Travmin near the Central Department store in the Chidlom area, which is where some of our farang volunteers go when in Bangkok. Another place is Bumrungrad International Hospital. This is one of the best "medical tourism" hospitals in the world. Highly recommended for anything you might need. Expensive by Thai standards, very inexpensive by American and European standards.

Donít bother with Malaria pills unless you are going somewhere none of us at the foundation have ever been. While you can find malaria in Thailand, you have to work hard to do it.

If malaria is not an issue at all, dengue fever is a not a likely one. Dengue is mosquito borne and there is no preventative vaccine. The only farang I know who has had it once is on our board of directors. She has lived in Thailand for 20 years and some of that time has been out in the villages.

The Thai government and military have a mosquito abatement program that appears to work well. There are very few mosquitoes around Nang Rong, and few of those could infect you with a disease. Over a five month period I will get maybe two or three bites.

Many in the U.S. have always gotten the yearly flu shot. Like other immunizations, these are useful worldwide. If you donít think you need them in the U.S., don't bother with them for Thailand. Since these are given only at certain times, you may not be able to get them before coming. In that case just get them in Thailand.

There are a number of sites for private clinics on the web. They are happy to sell you all sorts of immunizations you donít need. Avoid these. If after all this you want information from someone who knows what they are talking about check out the CDC website.

Getting to Thailand

Travel Mode

It is easy to see why Thailand has long been a major vacation place for the entire world. The people here are friendly in a way that is in marked contrast to other destinations in Asia, and it gets even better outside of Bangkok and the major tourist areas.