Travelling to countries in the Far East such as China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, to stay healthy and safe on your travels, it’s important to get the right vaccinations and preventative medications before you go. Here are the main vaccinations recommended for travel to the Far East.

Routine Vaccinations

Make sure you are up-to-date on all your routine vaccinations before travelling to the Far East. Travel clinics in Oxford can advise you, but the following routine vaccinations are recommended:

  • Tetanus – Get a tetanus booster if you haven’t had one in the last 10 years. Tetanus is a bacterial infection found in soil that can enter the body through cuts and wounds.
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) – You should have had two doses of the MMR vaccine, with the first at 12-15 months and the second at 3-5 years old.
  • Chickenpox – If you haven’t had chickenpox or were vaccinated against it as a child, get vaccinated at least a month before travel.
  • Polio – Travellers should have completed their full polio vaccine course.
  • Flu – Get a flu shot annually, ideally at least 2 weeks before travel.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection transmitted through contaminated food and water that can cause liver inflammation. All travellers to the Far East should be vaccinated against hepatitis A, which is available from local travel clinics. The vaccine is given as two injections, 6-12 months apart, and offers long-term protection against the virus.


Typhoid fever is also spread through contaminated food and water and causes high fever and stomach issues. Travellers to most areas of Asia should get vaccinated against typhoid. Two options are available – an injection that lasts 2-3 years, or oral capsules that provide protection for 5 years.

Hepatitis B

In many parts of Asia, hepatitis B is common. Vaccination provides effective protection and involves three shots over 6 months. It’s recommended for those staying long-term or at high-risk, such as healthcare workers.

Japanese Encephalitis

This viral brain infection transmitted by mosquitoes is found mainly in rural areas of Asia. Vaccination against Japanese encephalitis involves two injections over 28 days. It may be recommended for long-term travellers visiting rural areas during transmission seasons.


Rabies is present in many parts of Asia. Vaccination involves three shots over 21-28 days and is recommended for those spending over a month in Asia, especially if time will be spent in rural areas. A booster is needed after 1 year.

Other Considerations

Talk to your doctor about vaccinations at least 6-8 weeks before travel as some require multiple doses spaced weeks apart, or visit your local travel clinic, such as Wheatley Pharmacy – your local travel clinic in Oxford. Also, discuss options for malaria prevention medication if visiting affected regions. Practice food and water precautions and use insect repellent and mosquito nets to reduce risk of illnesses.

Staying up-to-date on all routine and recommended vaccinations is the best way to stay healthy on your Far East travels.