Immunitzations for Vietnam

Old Sep 20th, 2002, 03:38 AM
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Immunitzations for Vietnam

We will be taking a cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong, stopping in Bangkok and Vietnam. We will eat our meals on the ship but will go on day trips while in port. What immunizations should we get considering that we will not be eating or sleeping in Vietnam? Should we take antimalaria pills? Your advise would be appreciated.

PS. When we called our local health department they referred us to a private medical group who suggested a lot of shots since they profit from it! CDC website also lists a lot of shots especially if you'll be staying there for any length of time.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 06:18 AM
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Hi, David!
You have already asked the experts, and, really, what's the point of having experts if you don't follow their advice? It sounds to me like you will probably have the safest Vietnamese trip anyone ever had, but what would I know? One mosquito could come along and spoil the rest of your life. (Have you ever known anyone with malaria? I did once, and it's not pleasant... you never know when it's going to recur). Take all the pills, have all the shots, and then relax (until you see how fast they drive on those narrow, crowded roads, anyway! Then the mosquitoes suddenly look like the lesser of two evils!)
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 07:09 AM
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I think the CDC can be trusted to recommend only those shots that are necessary - and agree with the above poster that it's better to trust them than us (nice and knowledgeable as we are!).

The CDC does a pretty good job, I think, of describing which shots are considered "must haves", which are optional if you're only staying in urban areas, etc.

Hepatitis A is a nasty disease that can be caught by contaminated food or water, and is much more prevalent in Asia than in the West - well worth a shot to prevent, in my opinion.

As the CDC site says, tuberculosis typically requires prolonged air exposure, so it would be more important if you were flying than taking a cruise (although, if someone else on your cruise has it . . . ). We didn't take antimalarial pills for Vietnam because we weren't going inland & it's only recommended for villages & rural areas.

It's also a good idea to get your booster shots from your childhood immunizations (DTP, MMR, etc.). It's expensive (and tetanus HURTS!!), but better safe than sorry.
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 07:35 AM
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I agree that the cdc website is the best source of info on the internet. I believe it has all the information you need, but it may be that you aren't familiar with how to interpret the info.

As I understand it, you will be on a cruise ship except for a few day trips. My general recommendation is to have routine traveler's immunizations, no matter where you are going. Hep A is a 10-year shot. It is contracted through contaminated food and water, and is found in well-developed countries (US, Western Europe and cruise ships) but is more prevalent in developing countries. Typhoid is another food-borne illness that can be prevented with an immunization (either a shot or a series of three or four pills). It's always a good idea to update your routine immunizations, such as tetnaus/diptheria and polio as needed.

Malaria is spread by mosquitoes that are active from dusk to dawn. Bangkok, as the cdc says is not a risk area. If you are not going on evening trips in Vietnam, you don't need anti-malarials.

As you mentioned, the cdc does recommend some additional immunizations for persons who are staying in SE Asia for a long time (usually more than 3 or 6 months) or who are going to be staying in rural areaas for a prolonger period of time, or working on farms are with animals. None of these apply to you, though.

What immunizations do you have to have to go on your cruise? None are required. But re-read the cdc info and decide what you are comfortable with.
Old Sep 21st, 2002, 03:36 AM
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Thanks for the feedback.
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