Laos – Vaccinations & Travel Advice

Laos is a country with a rich cultural element, and plenty of natural wonder and local cuisine to enjoy. Before travelling to Laos, you should consider whether you need any vaccinations to ensure that your travels are safe and run as smoothly as possible. Getting vaccinated while in Laos may not be possible or may be incredibly difficult, and you may need to get vaccinations to satisfy health insurance requirements. Talk to the Travel Vaccination Clinic today about your upcoming trip to Laos so you can have any necessary vaccinations before you leave.

This website provides general advice on vaccinations for Laos and is not a substitute for adequate medical advice from the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor or your own doctor. Before receiving any travel-specific vaccines you should ensure you are up to date with all routine vaccinations, including measles, mumps and rubella, chicken pox, polio and others. Please ensure you inform the doctor during your appointment if you are not completely up to date with routine vaccinations OR if you have previously had an adverse reaction to any vaccine or medication.

Quick Checklist

  • Ensure you are up to date with childhood vaccinations
  • Practice proper food safety and hygiene such as drinking boiled or bottled water, hand washing and eating in cleaner looking restaurants when possible
  • Avoid mosquito bites where possible
  • Inform the Travel Vaccination Clinic of your full travel plans and itinerary during your appointment

Which vaccinations should I get for travel to Laos? 

The following information covers the main vaccinations that may be recommended for travel to Laos, however circumstances and advice may vary.  Ensure you see the doctor around 6 weeks before you plan to visit Laos to get up to date and comprehensive advice on your own situation.

Hepatitis A

You may come into contact with the Hepatitis A virus through contaminated food or water in Laos, and it is recommended generally that travellers get vaccinated against Hepatitis A before leaving for Laos. To read more about the virus and symptoms, prevention etc please visit the Hepatitis A information page.

Typhoid

Typhoid exists in Laos and can be passed on through contaminated food or water. Please read the general information on this vaccine on the Typhoid information page. You will be strongly advised to get vaccinated against Typhoid if you are travelling to rural areas, visiting friends or relatives in Laos, or if you are an adventurous eater. Please discuss your plans with the doctor for best advice.

Both Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations can be administered in one shot, and this lasts for a number of years once given. Ask the Travel Vaccination Clinic about getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid, as well as taking food safety precautions. You should not drink water in Laos unless it has been bottled or boiled.

Practicing good food hygiene and hand washing will also help protect you against other food and water borne diseases during your stay in Laos.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can be passed on to you if you meet a new partner in Laos, get a tattoo or piercing or undergo cosmetic medical procedures. The disease can be contracted through sexual contact, or exposure to needles or bodily fluids so the vaccine is highly recommended for anyone who might undertake activities that put them at risk of contracting Hepatitis B. This includes avoiding medical procedures where equipment does not appear to be sterilized.

Malaria

Malaria is transmitted to humans via mosquito bite, and is present in many areas of Laos, especially the border areas around Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand. There are precautions to take against mosquito bites such as using repellent, wearing long, loose clothing, using a mosquito net where possible and avoiding contact with flying insects. You should discuss these with the doctor during your appointment as other mosquito borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Japanese Encephalitis may also be present.

Yellow Fever risk in Laos

There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Laos. You may be required to produce proof of Yellow Fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country with risk of Yellow Fever infection (but this does not often include short transits through the airport, for example). If you have any concerns about the destination you will be arriving from, speak to the doctor about this during your appointment. You will need to discuss your whole travel itinerary and how long you are spending in each destination.

Long term travel and vaccinations for Laos

If your travels in Laos, or even South East Asia in general, will last longer than one month you may be recommended other vaccines, depending on your itinerary, your general health and planned activities. The following in particular may be recommended during your appointment with the doctor:

Japanese Encephalitis

This vaccine may be given or recommended if you are visiting rural areas, staying outdoors or going camping/hiking during your time in Laos. Seek further information by discussing your plans with the doctor and confirming whether you may need this vaccine to stay safe during your travels.

Rabies

Laos is not a rabies free country, and you may incidentally come into contact with dogs, bats, rats or other rabies carrying animals while in Laos. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about needing the preventive vaccine, or any concerns you have about this vaccine.

According to the Center for Disease Control in the US, the following groups of travellers are recommended to have the rabies vaccine before travelling to Laos:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving).
  • People who will be working with or around animals
  • People who are taking long trips or moving to Laos
  • Children