Vietnam Travel Health Insurance – Country Review

Learn more about Vietnam Travel Health Insurance with an overview from the CDC and the US State Department. Here we cover Vaccines, Medicines and Insurance.

At AardvarkCompare we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following advice should help you make the most of your trip to Vietnam.

Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.

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Vietnam Travel Health – CDC

All travelers

You should be up to date on routine vaccinations while traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel.

Vaccines and Medicines

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.

Routine vaccines

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Measles

  • Infants (6 through 11 months old): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as the first dose in the routine childhood vaccination series.
  • People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity or no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart.
  • People 12 months old or older who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.

Most travelers

Get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting.

Hepatitis A

CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Vietnam, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

Typhoid

You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Vietnam. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

Some travelers

Ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying, what you will be doing, and if you are traveling from a country other than the US.

Japanese Encephalitis

You may need this vaccine if your trip will last more than a month, depending on where you are going in Vietnam and what time of year you are traveling. You should also consider this vaccine if you plan to visit rural areas in Vietnam or will be spending a lot of time outdoors, even for trips shorter than a month. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans. See more in-depth information on Japanese encephalitis in Vietnam.

Hepatitis B

You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.

Malaria

When traveling in Vietnam, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling. Areas of Vietnam with risk of malaria: Rural areas only. Rare cases in the Mekong and Red River Deltas. None in the cities of Da Nang, Haiphong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Nha Trang, and Qui Nhon. See more detailed information about malaria in Vietnam.

Rabies

Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in the Vietnam, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
  • People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).
  • People who are taking long trips or moving to Vietnam
  • Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.

Stay Health and Safe

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Vietnam, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and Drink Safely

Unclean food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.

Eat

  • Food that is cooked and served hot
  • Hard-cooked eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself
  • Pasteurized dairy products

Don’t Eat

  • Food served at room temperature
  • Food from street vendors
  • Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs
  • Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish
  • Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
  • Unpasteurized dairy products
  • Bushmeat (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)

Drink

  • Bottled water that is sealed
  • Water that has been disinfected
  • Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Hot coffee or tea
  • Pasteurized milk

Don’t Drink

  • Tap or well water
  • Ice made with tap or well water
  • Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
  • Unpasteurized milk

Take Medicine

Talk with your doctor about taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs with you on your trip in case you get sick.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Vietnam. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.
What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below) .
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST MOSQUITOES ONLY: Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
    • DEET
    • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
    • IR3535
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs. For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites.

Some diseases in Vietnam—such as dengue, Zika, and filariasis—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Vietnam include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • Heat-related illness, such as heat stroke, can be deadly. Eat and drink regularly, wear loose and lightweight clothing, and limit physical activity during high temperatures.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation: use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Vietnam. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.
Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.
Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call the Vietnam embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website (Joint Commission International).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in Vietnam. Fill your malaria prescription before you leave and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.
In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Walking

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Vietnam may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Vietnam, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver’s license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy’s international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.

Flying

  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel warnings and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate.
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

To call for emergency services while in Vietnam, dial 115 for an ambulance, 114 for the fire department, and 113 for the police. Write these numbers down to carry with you on your trip.
Learn as much as you can about Vietnam before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on Vietnam from the US Department of State.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Vietnam for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

After Your Trip

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel.

Vietnam Travel Health – The US State Department

U.S.- VIETNAM RELATIONS

The United States established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1950, following its limited independence within the French Union; France continued to oversee Vietnam’s defense and foreign policy. In 1954, Vietnamese nationalists fighting for full independence defeated France, and the now-divided Vietnam entered into two decades of civil war.

The United States did not recognize North Vietnam’s government, maintaining the U.S. Embassy in South Vietnam, supporting the South against the North, and entering the war on the South’s side. In 1975, the United States closed its Embassy and evacuated all Embassy personnel just prior to South Vietnam’s surrender to North Vietnamese forces.

Vietnam was reunified under communist rule. In 1978, it invaded Cambodia following border clashes. U.S. policy held that normalization of its relations with Vietnam be based on withdrawal of the Vietnamese military from Cambodia as part of a comprehensive political settlement and on continued cooperation on prisoner of war/missing in action (POW/MIA) issues and other humanitarian concerns. In 1995, the United States announced the formal normalization of diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

In 2015, the United States and Vietnam marked the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and in May 2016, President Obama visited Vietnam to celebrate the Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries. In May 2017, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited the United States to discuss opportunities to further strengthen the Comprehensive Partnership.

The United States supports a strong, independent, and prosperous Vietnam that respects human rights and the rule of law. U.S. relations with Vietnam have become increasingly cooperative and comprehensive, guided by the 2013 U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership, an overarching framework for advancing the bilateral relationship, the 2015 bilateral Joint Vision Statement, and the Joint Statement issued during Vietnamese Prime Minister Phuc’s visit to the United States in May 2017.

This partnership underscores the enduring U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific and provides a mechanism to facilitate cooperation in areas including political and diplomatic relations, trade and economic ties, defense and security, science and technology, education and training, environment and health, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, war legacy issues, protection and promotion of human rights, people-to-people ties, and culture, sports, and tourism. The United States supports Vietnam’s law enforcement professionalization, regional cross-border cooperation, and implementation of international conventions and standards.

Vietnam is a partner in nonproliferation regimes, including the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and takes advantage of expertise, equipment, and training available under the Export Control and Related Border Security program. In 2016, the United States and Vietnam signed a letter of agreement to increase cooperation on law enforcement and the justice sector and the two countries are working jointly to implement the agreement. The United States and Vietnam hold annual dialogues on labor and human rights.

The United States considers achieving the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing and unaccounted for in Indochina to be one of its highest priorities with Vietnam. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command conducts four major investigation and recovery periods a year in Vietnam, during which specially trained U.S. military and civilian personnel investigate and excavate hundreds of cases in pursuit of the fullest possible accounting. Vietnamese-led recovery teams have become regular participants in these recovery missions since August 2011.

Vietnam remains heavily contaminated by explosive remnants of war, primarily in the form of unexploded ordnance (UXO) including extensive contamination by cluster munitions dating from the war with the United States. The United States is the largest single donor to UXO/mine action in Vietnam, and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on continued unexploded ordnance cooperation in December 2013. U.S. efforts to address legacy issues such as UXO/demining, MIA accounting, and remediation of Agent Orange (a defoliant used by U.S. forces) provided the foundations for the U.S.-Vietnam defense relationship.

The United States and Vietnam are committed to strengthen defense cooperation between the two countries as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding on Advancing Bilateral Defense Cooperation in 2011 and the U.S.-Vietnam Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations signed in 2015, giving priority to humanitarian cooperation, war legacy issues, maritime security, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Many of these topics are discussed in annual bilateral defense discussions. In May 2016, the United States fully lifted its ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam and continued to provide Vietnam with maritime security assistance – including through the Maritime Security Initiative, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and Foreign Military Financing. In 2017, the United States transferred a Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutter to help improve Vietnam’s law enforcement capabilities.

Also in 2017, the United States and Vietnam established a working group for the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative, which will advance cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The United States reaffirmed its support for Vietnam’s peacekeeping efforts with an aim of assisting Vietnam’s first deployment of UN peacekeeping forces by 2018.

U.S.-Vietnam people-to-people ties have flourished. Nearly 21,000 Vietnamese now study in the United States. The new Fulbright University Vietnam, which matriculated its first cohort in Fall 2017, will help bring world-class, independent education to Vietnam. Over 21,000 Vietnamese are members of the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative. The United States and Vietnam signed a Peace Corps country agreement in 2016.

U.S. Assistance to Vietnam

In the 1980s, Vietnam introduced market reforms, opened up the country for foreign investment, and improved the business climate. It became one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Vietnam’s rapid economic transformation and global integration has lifted millions out of poverty and has propelled the country to the ranks of lower-middle-income status. U.S. assistance in Vietnam focuses on consolidating gains to ensure sustainable economic development while promoting good governance and the rule of law.

Assistance projects aim to deepen regulatory reforms, improve the capacity and independence of Vietnam’s judicial and legislative bodies, and promote more effective public participation in the law and regulation-making processes. The United States assists the Government of Vietnam to bring its laws and practices into compliance with international labor standards and effectively enforce labor laws and uphold workers’ rights. U.S. assistance also seeks to support Vietnam’s response to climate change and other environmental challenges, including remediating Agent Orange/dioxin contamination, strengthening the country’s health and education systems, and assisting vulnerable populations.

The United States and Vietnam successfully concluded the first phase of dioxin remediation at Danang International Airport in 2017 and are discussing continued collaboration on the clean-up of dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa Air Base. Both sides also pledged to combat climate change via climate mitigation and adaptation measures.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Since entry into force of the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade agreement in 2001, trade between the two countries and U.S. investment in Vietnam have grown dramatically. The United States and Vietnam have concluded a trade and investment framework agreement; they also have signed textile, air transport, and maritime agreements. U.S. exports to Vietnam include agricultural products, machinery, yarn/fabric, and vehicles. U.S. imports from Vietnam include apparel, footwear, furniture and bedding, agricultural products, seafood, and electrical machinery. U.S.-Vietnam bilateral trade has grown from $451 million in 1995 to nearly $52 billion in 2016. In 2016, Vietnam was America’s fastest growing export market. U.S. exports to Vietnam grew by 77 percent between 2014-2016. U.S. exports to Vietnam were worth over $10 billion in 2016, and U.S. imports in 2016 were worth $42 billion. U.S. investment in Vietnam has grown significantly over the past eight years to nearly $10 billion.

The United States and Vietnam intend to establish the U.S.-Vietnam Joint Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation to facilitate the implementation of the 123 Agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear activity, which came into force in October 2014. An expanding civil nuclear partnership will help reduce emissions from the global power sector and establish the highest standards of nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation.

Vietnam’s Membership in International Organizations

Vietnam and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Vietnam will host APEC in 2017.

Bilateral Representation

Vietnam maintains an embassy in the United States at 1233 20th Street, NW, #400, Washington DC 20036 (tel. 202-861-0737).

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