When searching for a vacation destination, many people look for warm and lush places; Bali certainly fits that criteria and more. Thanks to its stunning beaches, exquisite culture, and mouthwatering cuisine, Bali, Indonesia is consistently ranked as one of the world’s choices for holidaymakers.
There are a few precautions you’ll want to take to ensure you have a healthy and enjoyable vacation. Fortunately, we have all the information you’ll need about the vaccinations required for Bali.
Vaccinations Required for Bali
There are no vaccines required for Bali, and government officials won’t be asking to see your yellow fever card, but there are a few important vaccines that everyone should receive before traveling to this tropical paradise. Be sure to plan ahead, most vaccines won’t provide full protection for at least two weeks, and some require multiple doses spaced over several months.
Children receive several doses of the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine, but to retain lifelong immunity, adults require a booster shot every 10 years. If you’re not sure when your last dose was, err on the side of safety and schedule yourself for a booster.
Hepatitis A is less common in the United States as it’s usually transmitted through contaminated water and food, but it is the second most common vaccine-preventable illness in the world. Vaccination is recommended anytime you’re traveling abroad. A complete hepatitis A vaccine series includes two doses, spaced six months apart. The vaccine is so effective however, that even a single dose before your trip offers excellent immune protection.
Few events have been as devastating to international travel as the COVID-19 pandemic, but widespread vaccination has prevented serious disease in millions and allowed things to return to a state of semi-normalcy. The primary series of vaccinations consist of a single dose (manufactured by Johnson and Johnson) or two doses given a few weeks apart (manufactured by Pfizer or Moderna). Booster shots are given six months after the primary series to provide longer-lasting protection.
Many people discount the flu, but it can still make you very ill and the risk of getting the flu is higher when you are traveling. No one wants to be laid up in their hotel room when they could be sightseeing or lounging on a beach. If you’re traveling during flu season, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated at least two weeks before your departure.
In the Northern hemisphere, flu season is usually between October and April and between April and September in the southern hemisphere. Near the equator, where Bali is located, the flu circulates year-round.
MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella)
Most Americans complete their measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine series in early childhood. These diseases are much more prevalent in parts of the world where vaccination rates are lower. If you were born in 1957 or later and have no record of receiving two doses in your lifetime, you’ll want to complete the series before any international travel. The doses are administered four weeks apart, so plan to get them several weeks before your departure.
Other Recommended Vaccinations for Bali
Beyond making sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date when traveling to Bali, there are a few others that need to be considered depending on the nature of your trip.
Typhoid is a serious bacterial infection, acquired from contaminated food and water and is prevalent throughout Southeast Asia. All travelers to Bali should get a typhoid vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to departure and take careful food and water precautions.
Many travelers to Bali visit the monkey forest sanctuary in Ubud. The macaques living there are habituated to humans and do not fear them; bites occur on a nearly daily basis as the aggressive monkeys attempt to steal food from anyone passing by. These animals can carry rabies, as can the stray dogs wandering throughout Bali's urban centers. Rabies is fatal if not treated and there have been reported cases among travelers in Bali in recent years. A pre-exposure rabies vaccine series before you leave is recommended for any extended stay, adventure travel or activities that involve wild animals. Never approach animals, monitor your children carefully and seek immediate medical attention if you are bit or scratched. Post exposure rabies treatment is not always readily available in Bali and could necessitate emergency evacuation off the island.
For most travelers to Asia, the risk of getting Japanese Encephalitis is fairly low, affecting around one in every million travelers. It’s spread through mosquito bites, and most of those infected will only have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. However, a small percentage of infections can involve the brain and 1 in 4 of those is fatal. The risk for this disease is year-round in Bali and travelers with an extended stay, or who spend a lot of time in rural agricultural areas are at increased risk. Your travel medicine specialist is the best person to determine whether you should consider a Japanese Encephalitis vaccine series based on your itinerary and activities.
Other Health Precautions for Bali
Receiving all the vaccinations required for Bali will go a long way towards keeping you healthy, but there are some additional basic precautions you should take to avoid having an illness ruin your trip.
Avoid Contaminated Water
Despite an abundance of rainfall and soaring mountains to catch it, Bali’s drinking water is some of the most polluted in Southeast Asia. Tap water needs extensive filtering or boiling before it’s safe to drink, so most visitors will be drinking bottled water. Fortunately for those worried about plastic waste, many shops and hotels will refill your bottle from a large jug of filtered water for free or a nominal fee.
Avoid Unsafe Food
Watching what you eat is critical to avoiding illness while traveling to Bali. Restaurants catering to tourists are usually committed to sanitary food prep, but the same can’t always be said for street food. Only eat food that is piping hot and never consume unwashed produce unless it has a peel or rind that you can remove. If you’re visiting a remote homestay or browsing a local market, do not consume wild game or bushmeat, which is more likely to contain parasites that aren’t easily killed by cooking.
Avoid Insect Bites (Especially Mosquitos!)
Travelers can take comfort knowing that malaria is not endemic to Bali, though it is present on other Indonesian islands. Bug bites can still pose a threat, though, especially since Bali’s mosquitoes can carry diseases like dengue fever, chikungunya, and the Zika virus, none of which have an effective treatment or vaccine available. Wear long sleeves when you can, apply DEET-containing insect repellent to any exposed skin, and close your windows at night unless you’re sleeping under a mosquito net.
Stay Protected With TravelBug Health
Receiving all of the necessary immunizations is one of the most important steps you can take to keep yourself safe and healthy when traveling to Bali. Some of these vaccines require multiple doses or should not be given at the same time as other vaccines, so it’s best to schedule your appointments far in advance of your travels.
However, to learn more about the specific risks of your destination and how you can stay safe, consider scheduling a pre-travel health consultation. The travel medicine specialists at TravelBug Health can provide an individualized assessment, examining your medical history, including your vaccine record and any prescriptions you might be taking, and discussing precautions related to your specific itinerary.
Contact TravelBug Health today for more information about how we can make your next trip a safe trip.