Should We Get Vaccinations?
Vanuatu is a safe and fun place to holiday, even with small children or older family members. Depending on how long you are visiting for and where you intend to spend most of your time, you may decide to get some vaccinations before you come.
(Please note, I am not a doctor or medical professional. This is information only, not a recommendation or instruction. Please consult a health care professional before accepting or refusing any medical treatment or medications.)
Malaria is present in Vanuatu at certain times of the year. It is almost unheard of around Port Vila at any time. If you are travelling to the northern islands such as Santo, or will be venturing into the wilds, it is a good idea to discuss your plans with a Travel Doctor or your GP. Malaria medication is basically very strong, targeted antibiotics that is recommended to be taken for up to 2 weeks at a time. So if you are travelling for longer than this, your doctor may not recommend it.
As residents can’t take malaria medication, they prefer to be proactive in protecting themselves from mosquito bites. Wearing a strong insect repellent (go straight for the chemical ones sorry, the natural ones aren’t strong enough here!) is highly recommended. If mosquitoes are around, in the evenings cover arms and legs with clothing. Use mosquito coils outside or citronella candles. These are available throughout Vanuatu. Keeping fans on while you sleep can also help to keep the air moving and repel mosquitoes from landing.
Find out more information on Malaria symptoms.
There is no vaccination for Dengue Fever, but tests for and medication to treat it are available in Port Vila and Luganville. Again, as a mosquito born illness, being proactive in protecting yourself is the key.
Find out more information on Dengue Fever symptoms. The last outbreak of Dengue was in the Summer of 2016/2017. Around 100 people were affected by this illness country wide, however it is not a fatal illness.
All that being said, if bitten by a mosquito while in Vanuatu, chances are you will just get itchy! Tropical diseases are seasonal, and with due care, your risks are minimised greatly. The locals swear by paw paw seeds as a mosquito repellent too, so crunch away!
Hepatitis A & Typhoid
Both of these diseases have vaccinations available, sometimes combined, but are only generally recommended for extended stays or visits to remote areas where proper sanitation and disposal of human waste isn’t present.
Hepatitis A is present in the outer islands, generally due to contaminated water. It is not an issue at all in Luganville or Port Vila, where the water is treated. Making sure your drinking water and food is clean is the best defense again Hepatitis A. Please consult your health care professional for current advice on avoiding and treating Hepatitis A.
Typhoid is also a water and food born disease in the Salmonella family. Hygiene and sanitation are the key, so unless you are heading bush, it shouldn’t be a problem. Please consult your health care professional for current advice on avoiding and treating Typhoid.