Vaccinations for China

Which vaccinations for China do you need? You may be going for a holiday, a business trip, or even moving to China long-term.

Or maybe you are already living in China and plan to travel to some more remote areas of the country for a holiday.

Although China currently has no severe infectious diseases, you are still quite concerned about your health, and may be confused about which vaccinations to get done for China. After all, the list of vaccinations is quite a long one. 

Read on to learn more about specific vaccines for China and general sanitation advice.

Vaccinations For China

Which Vaccinations Should I have Done?

Some common diseases are more prevalent in China, which means it is important to keep up to date with your routine vaccinations.

The following routine vaccinations are advisable if you haven’t had them done already:

Children:

  • Flu
  • DTaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Pneumococcal
  • Meningococcal
  • HPV
  • Rotavirus
  • Hib
  • Polio
  • MMR
  • Chickenpox

Adults:

  • Flu
  • Td (Tetanus, Diphtheria)
  • DTap
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Pneumococcal
  • Meningococcal
  • HPV
  • Shingles

As every person is different it is best to see your doctor to check which vaccinations you should have done for the first time or require booster shots.

For adults who were immunized as a child, it is possible that you may only need a yearly flu vaccine and a tetanus booster shot every 10 years.

Vaccinations against pneumococcal disease and shingles might be advised for older adults.

If you are unsure of which immunization shots you have had done or when they were done last, your doctor may ask you to have some of them done again.

Critical Vaccinations for China

The following vaccinations are advisable for China in particular:

The following vaccinations for China are recommended in certain cases as explained below:

  • Hepatitis B: This can be transmitted through sex or needles. If you are having a tattoo or a medical procedure, this is also recommended.
  • Japanese Encephalitis: This is recommended if you are traveling for more than a month or if you are traveling to rural China and plan to spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Polio: Recommended if you are visiting Xinjiang, or working in a healthcare facility, refugee camp, or humanitarian aid setting. This may be given as a booster shot if you had it done as a child.
  • Rabies: If you spend time with animals or participate in a lot of outdoor activities, this is recommended as it is contracted through animal bites.
    There have been serious outbreaks of rabies in Southern China in recent years and also yearly deaths from rabies in Shanghai. Be extra careful of dogs when the Shanghai weather turns extremely hot as they are more prone to biting. If you are bitten, even slightly, it is critical you visit a doctor immediately for a vaccination as a recent death from rabies in Shanghai due to the victim not getting vaccinated in time proves.  
  • Yellow Fever: The Chinese government requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling from a country, other than the US, with risk of yellow fever.
    If you do plan to visit areas prevalent to Yellow Fever, such as Brazil, sometime in the future you might consider to get this vaccination done as early as possible as it can protect you for life, but is normally not given to people over 60.
Jiahui International Clinic Shanghai Jingan

Zika Virus in China

China is not a risk area for the Zika virus, although it has spread to some nearby Asian countries.

In early 2016 there were several cases of Zika in China which occurred due to travelers having contracted it abroad, mainly in Venezuela.

Currently there is no vaccine available for the Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitos.

Malaria and Dengue Fever in China

Avoid mosquito bites to avoid malaria and dengue fever. Malaria has been found in some rural areas of China.

You should carry insect repellants and check with your doctor what prescription medicine should be taken before, during, and after your trip.

Bird Flu

There is no vaccine available to the general public for the H7N9 bird flu virus which has caused deaths in China every year since the initial outbreak in 2013.

Minimize exposure to live poultry to avoid the risk of bird flu; also known as avian influenza. Wash your hands thoroughly and use alcohol-based sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

Make sure you have had your annual flu shot to avoid getting the flu and avian influenza at the same time if there is an outbreak of bird flu in China.

Cooked poultry is not a risk, however be sure to thoroughly wash cutting boards and utensils that have come in contact with raw poultry. Cook food thoroughly until the internal temperature reaches 74ºC.

Shots for China

Tips to Avoid Diseases in China

It’s best to see your doctor and get vaccinated four to six weeks before you leave to allow time for the vaccine to become effective.

Once they’re done and out the way, you can set your mind at ease and focus on your plans in China.

Wishing you a safe and pleasant travel!

About the Author

Jiahui Health, headquartered in Shanghai, is building a hub and spoke relationship-based healthcare network.  The Jiahui Health network includes Jiahui International Hospital, a 500-bed tertiary general hospital in Shanghai, Jiahui Clinic, and Jiahui Wellness Center.

The Jiahui clinic located in Shanghai’s Jing’an district opened in 2016 and serves expats in the city with its English speaking expat and local physicians. Contact Jiahui to find out about the yearly flu shot in Shanghai and if there are some vaccinations for China you should still have done while here.

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