Vaccinations in Thailand

Discover what Thailand vaccinations are recommended for children, pensioners, and other groups, and find out where to get them.

Girl gets a vaccination in her arm, nurse or doctor wears teal-colored medical gloves

By Jane Evans

Updated 20-3-2024

If recent years have proven anything, it’s that vaccinations (การฉีดวัคซีน) are central to public health and disease prevention. Through the National Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Thailand provides vaccines (วัคซีน, waccine) against various preventable illnesses, such as hepatitis B, measles, and polio.

While free for Thai nationals, expat residents have to arrange them privately. Fortunately, though, private healthcare in Thailand is relatively affordable compared with equivalent services and facilities in the Global North.

Learn more about the vaccination system in Thailand, including travel vaccines, shots for children and pensioners, and other optional or recommended immunizations, by reading the following sections:

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The vaccination system in Thailand

Thailand officially introduced the EPI in 1977, and vaccination checks upon school entry began in 2013. This was supported by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Ministry of Education (MoE).

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses being prepared by a medical worker wearing latex gloves
Photo: Matt Hunt/Getty Images

Photo: Matt Hunt/Getty Images
Photo: Matt Hunt/Getty Images

For over 20 years, the EPI achieved vaccine coverage of more than 80% of the population. The National Health Security Office (สำนักงานหลักประกันสุขภาพแห่งชาติ) supervises the program, along with Siriraj Hospital (ศิริราชพยาบาล), which is the largest public hospital in the country.

Thai health services offer the following optional and mandatory vaccinations:

VaccineTargeted DiseaseNotes
DTP-HepB-HibDiphtheria, Tetanus, and whooping cough (pertussis) or DTP
Hepatitis B
Haemophilus influenzae type b
HepBHepatitis BTwo doses, six months apart
Recommended for healthcare workers and those close to hepatitis B patients
HPVHuman papillomavirusSingle or two doses for women and girls aged 15 to 20 years
Recommended to protect women and girls against HPV/cervical cancer caused by the HPV virus/immunosuppressed individuals
IPVInactive polio
JE LAVJapanese encephalitis
Meningitis ACWYProtects against four strains of meningococcal bacteriaRecommended for pilgrims traveling from Thailand to epidemic areas
Two doses
Recommended for healthcare workers and first-year medical/public health students
Tetanus boosterTetanusRecommended every 10 years for all adults over 20 years
Zoster vaccineShingles (herpes zoster)Two doses, two to six months apart
Recommended for the elderly and other at-risk groups to protect against shingles

Thailand’s vaccinations for children

Thailand recommends 12 childhood EPI vaccines for babies and children. These are voluntary rather than mandatory.

a close-up shot of a Thai child receiving a vaccine from a healthcare worker who wears blue latex gloves
Photo: Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty Images

That said, there are immunization checks for children entering primary school (ประถมศึกษา, Pratom Suksa) at 6 or 7 years old. Reportedly, more than 90% of children in Thailand receive all 12 EPI vaccinations as part of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme.

Getting vaccines at a Thai hospital

When you give birth in Thailand, the hospital will offer vaccinations for the newborn. This applies to both public and private facilities. If your child is a little bit older, you’ll need to contact the hospital or vaccine clinic to register them for vaccinations. You can simply walk into the reception and make or wait for an appointment.

The doctor or nurse who administers the shots will provide you with a vaccination record. Notably, private hospitals may offer e-vaccine books, tailor-made vaccine programs, or other services.

Wherever you choose to get vaccinated, you can rest assured that you are in safe hands. Thai healthcare professionals are usually very gentle when giving injections and taking blood.

Are vaccinations covered by insurance in Thailand?

The public healthcare system covers Thai nationals under the Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS). This includes newborn vaccinations and EPI vaccines.

There are limited benefits for expats working in Thailand and paying social security (ประกันสังคม, Prakan Sangkom). As such, most foreign residents must arrange shots through private medical insurance (การประกันสุขภาพภาคเอกชน) or pay out of pocket. Some health insurance packages also offer annual flu shots for free.

Several international health insurance providers operate in Thailand, including:

It’s worth noting that some hospitals may not store all vaccines, especially those not included in the EPI. In this case, if you are in Bangkok, you can contact the Thai Travel Clinic, a clinic of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University. You can make an appointment via the website.

image of insider

Writer and local expert

Jane Evans

Public hospitals can be very busy and lack English language assistance. Therefore, you can expect long waiting times and it is advisable to take a local friend with you to help translate. Private hospitals and clinics, on the other hand, have English-speaking staff, shorter waiting times, and offer available vaccines on a walk-in basis.

Thailand’s national vaccination schedule

Thailand’s National Immunization Program (NIP) includes the following vaccinations:

Vaccine nameTargeted DiseasesTimeline
BCGTuberculosisAt birth
Hep-B (pediatric)Hepatitis B At birth
DTwP-Hib-HepBDiptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis,
Haemophilus influenzae, Hepatitis B
At two, four, and six months
OPVPoliomyelitisAt two, four, and six months
RV5RotavirusAt two, four, and six months
IPVPoliomyelitisAt four months
MMRMeasles, Mumps, RubellaAt nine months
JEJapanese encephalitisAt 13 months
DTwPDTwPAt 13 months
HPV1 and HPV2Human papillomavirusAt 11 years
TdTetanus and diphtheriaAt 12 years
InfluenzaInfluenzaFrom six months of age, annually

The COVID-19 vaccination

Thailand’s government and Department of Disease Control dealt with COVID-19 very well, offering Thai nationals and expat foreigners free vaccinations during the pandemic.

The country recommends an annual COVID booster shot; you can ask about this at any hospital or clinic.

Which vaccinations are recommended for pensioners?

Thailand recommends the following vaccinations for the elderly:

VaccineTargeted DiseaseTarget Group
Influenza vaccineFluPensioners
Pneumococcal vaccineStreptococcus pneumoniaePensioners
Zoster vaccineShinglesPensioners and immunosuppressed people

Which vaccinations are recommended for special groups?

Thailand recommends these vaccinations for special groups:

VaccineTargeted DiseaseTarget Group
Influenza vaccineCommon fluPregnant people and seniors
Whooping coughPertussisPregnant people in weeks 27–36
Zoster vaccineShinglesPensioners and immuno-suppressed people

Expectant mothers should see a doctor throughout their pregnancy and receive advice on any vaccines needed. At-risk groups and seniors should also consult their family doctor or GP before having any shots.

What travel vaccinations do you need for Thailand?

Before traveling to Thailand, you should be up to date with the recommended vaccination schedule to help prevent diseases from spreading. Ideally, you should consult with your healthcare practitioner six to eight weeks before your arrival.

The following vaccinations are recommended for Thailand:

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Mumps, measles, rubella
  • Rabies
  • Tuberculosis

There’s no risk of yellow fever in Thailand. However, if you’re traveling from a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, you’ll need a yellow fever vaccine certificate. 

three stray dogs laying on the steps of a temple in Thailand, where a golden buddha statue sits above them
Photo: Rex_Wholster/Getty Images

If you are already in Thailand and need travel shots or boosters, you can get them at a hospital or clinic. The Thai Travel Clinic in Bangkok offers a full list of travel vaccines with a clear price list, as well as a wealth of information and services for expats and a good appointment system. Private hospitals also provide travel shots throughout Thailand.

image of insider

Writer and local expert

Jane Evans

If you are an animal lover, it might be worth getting rabies shots before you travel to Thailand as there are a lot of dogs, cats, monkeys, and other creatures that carry the disease. However, it is important to leave enough time to do this, as you will usually need three injections spread over 28 days to be protected.

Useful resources

  • National Health Security Office (NHSO – สำนักงานหลักประกันสุขภาพแห่งชาติ สปสช) – manages the universal public healthcare service for Thai citizens
  • Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) – the regulatory body for the insurance industry in Thailand
  • Thai Travel Clinic – a special clinic of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, which offers vaccinations and transparent pricing
  • Center for Disease Control – provides information about travel vaccines for Thailand