Posted by: mkirschmd | November 30, 2009

Do I Need Travel Vaccinations to India?

India is an extremely popular destination for foreign travelers. This populous country of more than a billion people offers western tourists a fascinating visit into a foreign world. There are outdoor adventures, pristine landscapes, historical sites, modern night life and a spiritual dimension to the country. India  is incredibly diverse in all aspects. Amazingly, over 1500 languages are spoken there.

The country is working hard to modernize and is competing with the developed world. For example, medical tourism is a growing industry in India, when westerners travel there for complex surgeries and medical treatments that can be performed at great cost savings.

Many travelers to India and other developing countries will develop health issues abroad, Many of these illnesses can be prevented or effectively treated, if the traveler is prepared. Tourists, businessmen and folks returning to India to visit friends and relatives (VFRs) should consult with a travel doctor several weeks before departure for travel vaccinations and travel safety tips. VFRs returning to their birth countries often wrongly believe that they are still immune to local diseases, but this is not the case. If they travel without travel vaccinations and other preventive health measures, they face unnecessary risks of illness.  Expert travel medicine advice is available at Find Travel Clinic.

Travelers to India Need:

Routine Vaccinations

  • Seasonal Influenza (routine ‘flu shot’)
  • Chicken pox MMR (measles/mumps/rubella)
  • DPT (Diphtheria/Pertussis/Tetanus)
  • Rotovirus (for children)
  • Poliomyelitis (if unvaccinated)

Required Vaccinations

  • Yellow fever (if you are traveling from certain countries)

Recommended Vaccinations

  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Rabies (depending upon your itinerary)
  • Japanese encephalitis (for rural travelers)
  • Poliomyelitis (adults may need a booster)

Travelers to India need to be mindful that there are many diseases, including malaria and traveler’s diarrhea, that have no available protective travel vaccines. Therefore, careful attention to food and beverages, recreational activities, contact with animals and mosquito avoidance can reduce the risk of contracting many illnesses.  Your travel doctor can make sure you are prepared in advance of your departure.

Special Tips!

  • Health authorities do not recommend a cholera vaccine.
  • Chloroquine is not an effective anti-malaria agent in India.


  1. I travelled to India last year and I didn’t take any of these vaccinations.

  2. I hope that you remained well. Many people don’t wear seatbelts or wear bicycle helmets, and they never become injured. This doesn’t mean that they have made wise decisions. The same is true for travel vaccinations.

  3. Going to India on 2nd Feb and bit confused what vaccinations I should get – particularly the Hep A and B, and Rabies as bit pricey.

    Have had Hep A vaccine 5 years ago and rabies shots but been advised may need top-up, plus Hep B.

    Our itinerary is: Delhi; Agra; Varanasi; Kolkata; Kerala and Mumbai. Also may do a 3 day safari at a national park in the northern region. Sticking to mainly urban areas. Please advise! Thanks 🙂

  4. Davina, It sounds like you will be having a splendid time in India. I wish you safe travels. Of course, we cannot provide any medical advice on the blog, so I urge you to consult with a travel doctor soon, as you are leaving next month. The physician will review your vaccination history and your itinerary and then discuss options with you. Please drop us a line when you return.

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