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Sassy Scoop: Protect your family when travelling with the right vaccinations for South-East Asia!

ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExpertsTravelPost Category - TravelTravelWellnessPost Category - WellnessWellness - Post Category - HealthHealth

With school hols fast approaching, our minds are turning to travel planning, so we turned to the experts at International Medical Clinic to get the low-down on those must-have holiday vaccinations!

Here’s the scoop from Dr. Michael Rodgers on what you should be considering to help protect your family from any tropical nasties…

The basics…

Although Singapore itself is relatively free of tropical diseases, the surrounding areas of Malaysia and Indonesia (including Batam and Bintan) are not.

Recommended vaccinations will vary, depending on a number of factors, such as which part of which country you are visiting, the season you are visiting (e.g. the rainy season), what you’ll be doing during your stay, how long you’ll be there, and your age and health. Many of the infectious diseases associated with less-developed countries are the result of poor sanitation, causing faecal contamination of the water or food supply chain.

There are huge variations even within countries, however. In Thailand, for example, visiting a five star resort in Koh Samui is very different from a visit to a refugee camp on the Thai/Burmese border. There are, however, a certain “core” group of essential vaccinations that are almost universally recommended in the region:

Hepatitis A – a disease causing viral inflammation of the liver, contracted from contaminated food or water. Two vaccines are given 6-12 months apart, and immunity lasts over 20 years.

Hepatitis B – also a viral inflammation of the liver, although this disease is contracted through blood, blood products, and bodily fluids. Modes of transmission include dirty needles, blood transfusions, and sexual contact (yikes). It is highly infectious. A course of three vaccines over 6 months is required, followed by a blood test to check immunity, which is lifelong. A combined vaccine with hepatitis A is also available.

Typhoid – a bacterial infection transmitted via contaminated food and drink. The vaccine lasts 2-3 years.

Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis – three bacterial infections that require a combination vaccine. This lasts for 10 years.

Polio – a viral infection that causes paralysis. Adult booster vaccinations are advised if no booster was given in the previous 10 years. General side effects of vaccinations include localized redness and swelling around the injection sites, transient fever, malaise, and stomach upset. Fewer than 1 in 10 patients experience these, however.

Malaria Prevention and Other Vaccines

Malaria is carried by a mosquito-borne parasite. This potentially fatal disease is common in many inland areas of South East Asia and has no effective vaccination, although preventative tablets are available. Effective prevention of mosquito bites using repellents or nets is also advised.

For more remote locations in the region, or for long-stay travellers, additional vaccinations may be required, such as rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, and cholera.

Yellow fever is present primarily in Africa and South America, and visitors to parts of these regions may require proof of yellow fever vaccination to re-enter Singapore. A consultation with a doctor is required before vaccinations or travel medications can be issued. Other issues to be discussed include food and water hygiene, mosquito repellents, and preventative prescription medications, such as those for traveller’s diarrhoea.

Medical advice should be sought 4-6 weeks before travelling. For an extended trip, you should ideally allow up to six months before departure. It is never too late to seek advice, however!

Psst… We know vaccinations are a hot topic these days – if you’re trying to separate fact and fiction and you’d like to get some advice from any of IMC’s family doctors you can call IMC’s Camden Clinic on (+65) 6733 4440 or their Jelita Clinic on (+65) 6465 4440.

International Medical Clinic

Camden Clinic
1 Orchard Boulevard, #14-06 Camden Medical Centre, Singapore 248649
Tel: (+65) 6733 4440
Email: [email protected]
Open Mon to Fri 9am – 5.30pm and Sat from 9am – 1pm

Jelita Clinic
293 Holland Road, #02-04 Jelita Cold Storage Shopping Centre, Singapore 278628
Tel: (+65) 6465 4440
Email: [email protected]
Open Mon to Fri 9am – 5.30pm and Sat from 9am – 1pm

 Brought to you in partnership with International Medical Clinic. 


Top image sourced via shutterstock

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