There is an increased risk of contracting hepatitis A and typhoid in Vietnam, both of which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.
Exercise normal safety precautions in Vietnam.
Vietnam boasts some truly breathtaking landscapes, including Halong Bay, Hang Song Doong caves and the Mu Cang Chai rice terraces. It also offers a diversity of natural beauty including world-famous beaches, national parks with camping and amazing bird life, and mountainous areas where the sunsets are spectacular.
Thanks to its long, rich history and Buddhist traditions, Vietnam has many traditional festivals all year round. These festivals range from the Tet holiday - an ideal time to see how families celebrate their love for their ancestors and for each other, to the buffalo fighting festival in Hai Phong where the winning buffalo is presented to the village god.
When planning your trip to Vietnam, it’s important to consider your health and understand your risk of contracting foreign disease and illnesses.
Speak with your healthcare professional about how you can best protect yourself prior to your departure.
Before you go to Vietnam
All travellers should be up to date with their routine vaccinations before heading off to Vietnam. These include vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, polio and influenza. For a full list, refer to the National Immunisation Program – available here.
Travellers to Vietnam who are aged 5 years or older should also ensure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Depending on where you are staying and what activities you have planned, preventative measures, including the following vaccinations may be recommended for you by your doctor:
- Hepatitis B
- Japanese encephalitis
- Malaria (no vaccination is available in Australia, but preventative medication can be prescribed by your doctor)
It is best to consult with your doctor or travel health clinic at least a month prior to your departure. They will be able to advise you about any vaccinations that you may need for your trip well before you leave, based on your specific travel plans.
What your doctor will need to know:
- When you plan to travel (time of year/season)
- The duration of your trip
- The regions of Vietnam you are visiting
- Your planned activities (i.e. if you are going trekking or visiting remote and/or wilderness areas)
- If you will be in contact with animals
- If you are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
Your doctor may also conduct a general health check-up. This may be needed for your travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
If you are not up-to-date with your routine vaccinations, or if your doctor believes you may be at an increased risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease, then they may recommend that you get a booster or be revaccinated against a particular disease.
Medicare will only cover your GP consultation cost in most cases, but some private travel clinics may incur an out of pocket expense. Medicare will not cover the vaccinations, and vaccination prices vary a lot.
The average cost of a single travel vaccine can vary between $45-$85.
If you have private healthcare, you may find they will cover some costs, but this varies from one company to another – check with your personal insurer for more details.
In some circumstances, your private healthcare may cover the cost of the vaccination.
This will however depend on the specifics of your policy with your provider – the type of cover you have (hospital, hospital + extra) and the specifics of your extras cover.
Contact your provider to find out if vaccinations are included as part of your cover.
The standard of healthcare facilities in Vietnam varies from place to place. So it is important you a prepared before heading off on your trip.
See your doctor at least 4 weeks before departure to discuss your travel health requirements.
- Register your trip with Smart Traveller
- Make sure you have enough of your regular prescription medicines;
- Ensure you’re up-to-date with your routine vaccinations
- Take out travel insurance - to cover you and your family for medical and other costs resulting from unexpected incidents and accidents
- Put together a travel kit with medication for pain, diarrhoeal medicine, oral rehydration salts, antiseptic lotion or ointment, adhesive bandages and other wound dressings, insect repellent, sunscreen, latex gloves, thermometer, motion sickness medicine, water purification tablets and compression stockings
- The tap water in Vietnam is not safe to drink.
- Drink bottled or filtered water only and check the plastic seal on bottled water is intact (some stores have been known to sell boiled water in recycled bottles). Avoid adding ice to your drinks, and check that salad and fruit have been washed with filtered water prior to consumption.
- Traveller's diarrhoea is common in Vietnam.
- Important ways to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea include:
- ensure you wash your hands with soap and water regularly
- where possible, opt for fully cooked fresh food and only eat fruit that you peel yourself.
- avoid mosquito bites, as you may be at risk of contracting illnesses such as Japanese encephalitis (JE) or malaria in some rural parts of Vietnam.
- Speak with your healthcare professional about whether or not you might need medication or vaccination, at least 4 weeks prior to your departure. You can further protect yourself with insect repellent, wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs, and staying in accommodation that has air conditioning, fly nets or screened windows provided.
- Rabies is a deadly disease and considered a risk in Vietnam. It is spread by the bite, lick or scratch of an infected animal, such as a dog or a monkey. Avoid close contact with wild and domestic animals, this is especially important for children. Do not carry food around, or feed/play with monkeys or other animals. Vaccinations for rabies are available – your doctor can advise whether vaccinations are required for your trip.
- Use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, human papillomavirus, herpes, syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV.
- Diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B can also be spread through fluids such as blood and semen. To protect yourself, do not inject drugs, do not share needles or devices that can break the skin including those used for tattooing, piercings or acupuncture. Vaccinations are available for hepatitis B.
Sources & Citations
- Worldometers, Viet Nam Population (live). Available at: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/vietnam-population/ [accessed 31 August 2023].
- Escape. Vietnam set to overtake Bali as Australia’s favourite holiday destination. Available at: https://www.escape.com.au/destinations/asia/vietnam/vietnam-set-to-overtake-bali-as-australias-favourite-holiday-destination/news-story/5ff51a73a566198db08a332e34b0a18b [accessed 8 February 2022].
- Escape. 11 spots everyone needs to see in Vietnam. Available at: https://www.escape.com.au/destinations/asia/vietnam/11-spots-everyone-needs-to-see-in-vietnam/image-gallery/5bc4e4462c7d226049bde879db988962 [accessed 8 February 2022].
- Vietnamese Impressive. Festivals in Vietnam. Available at: http://www.vietnamimpressive.com/festivals-in-vietnam.html [accessed 8 February 2022].
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers’ Health – Vietnam. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/vietnam [accessed 8 February 2022].
- Australian Government Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule [accessed 7 February 2022].
- Finder, Travel Vaccinations – Can I claim travel vaccinations on my private health insurance? Available at: https://www.finder.com.au/travel-vaccinations [accessed 8 February 2022].
- Australian Government. Smart Traveller - Vietnam. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/vietnam [accessed 8 February 2022].
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler’s Health Pack Smart. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart [accessed 8 February 2022].
- CDC Yellow Book. Chapter 10: Vietnam. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2020/popular-itineraries/vietnam [accessed 8 February 2022].
- Australian Government. Smart Traveller – Infectious Diseases. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/before-you-go/health/diseases [accessed 8 February 2022].
MAT-AU-2200214 - Date of preparation March 2022Show All