Nearly everyone has travel insurance in case things go wrong with their health on holiday, but it’s better to take steps to reduce your health risks overseas than to treat things when they go wrong.
So, if you’re planning on a visit to Bali, this is what you need to know about vaccinations and disease control on the island.
Health Risks In Bali
The biggest health risks in Bali tend to come from things that you can’t vaccinate against, however, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reduce the risks of these problems, it just means you can’t vaccinate against them.
Bali Belly is, without a doubt, the number one health problem suffered by travellers. Its common name is “travellers diarrhoea” and it’s caused by contaminated food and drink.
While you can’t identify most contaminated food on sight, you can reduce the risks of eating contaminated food by consuming food that is cooked through and eaten while it’s still hot.
You will also reduce the risks of consuming contaminated water by only drinking bottled water.
There is no preventative medication for STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) but condoms can ensure that you reduce the risk of bringing home an unpleasant souvenir from your time in Bali.
We’re not saying, “Don’t have fun”, here, we’re just saying, “Do it safely.” It’s much less embarrassing than filling in a travel insurance claim for these conditions.
Temporary Black Henna Tattoos
Henna tattoos can look amazing.
Even the smart traveller can be drawn to a form of tattooing with no risks from contaminated needles and the like, however, there is an increased risk of allergic reactions from this form of tattooing.
The end results can include blistering, irritation and even permanent scarring. So, it might be best to avoid these tattoos in the first place.
Mosquito bites, all over the world, can result in viral illness and while malaria isn’t much of an issue, there’s an increased risk of some insect-borne diseases in Bali and, in particular, of dengue fever.
There are some experimental vaccines for Dengue, but unless your healthcare professional specifically recommends that you take them, we wouldn’t recommend it, there are some risks associated with these vaccines.
It’s better to take standard precautions against mosquito bites instead.
Routine Vaccinations For Bali (And Everywhere)
Routine vaccinations are the vaccinations that you ought to get as a matter of course in everyday life.
While there may be a slightly increased risk of contracting these conditions in Bali, they also occur at home and your doctor will probably have recommended you take some or all of the following vaccines.
Tetanus or “lockjaw” is very easy to vaccinate against and the vaccine lasts for 10 years. Diptheria is routinely given as a vaccination in Childhood as is Pertussis (or “whooping cough”).
Polio vaccination is often given on a sugar cube and again, is a standard part of childhood vaccination programs.
You don’t need to certify that you’ve been vaccinated against these conditions to enter Bali but if you’re considering vaccinations for Bali and you haven’t had these shots, this is a good place to start.
Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR)
The MMR vaccine has become quite controversial in recent years, however, all reputable medical facilities and institutions recommend this vaccine and if you’ve not had the MMR, it’s a good idea to do so before you come to Bali.
The flu vaccine is not essential for most people, however, there are some groups of high-risk individuals where a vaccine against this viral illness is highly recommended.
These groups will normally include the elderly, immuno-compromised, etc. and your health professional should have informed you if the influenza vaccine is recommended for your situation.
Recommended Vaccinations For Bali
There are also a few vaccinations for Bali that are not normally required in Western nations but which might be a good idea for your holiday.
Hepatitis B & Hepatitis A Vaccination
Hepatitis B & Hepatitis A are endemic in Indonesia. They can be transmitted through saliva, food contamination, and sexual contact.
Doctors will recommend immunization against both forms of hepatitis prior to coming to Bali for most tourists.
Japanese Encephalitis Vaccination
This mosquito-borne disease is endemic to Indonesia but it is particularly prevalent in Bali, for some reason.
Japanese encephalitis is particularly dangerous to children and is carried by mosquitoes in rural areas (often in the South of Bali).
If you intend to spend some time during your Balinese holiday wandering through the rice fields and enjoying some hiking, it’s a good idea to vaccinate against Japanese encephalitis.
Rabies is an issue throughout Southeast Asia and it is transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected animal.
Dogs, cats, monkeys and, indeed, all mammal species can carry rabies. Unless you intend to spend your time in Bali around such animals (and are thus at higher risk of getting rabies) or spend a lot of time visiting rural areas, you do not need vaccination against rabies before you travel.
However, if you are bitten by a mammal, then you must get fully vaccinated against rabies immediately.
You must seek and recieve the first shot in the course of vaccinations within 24 hours of getting bitten (if you have been previously vaccinated against rabies, you will still need to be vaccinated again, but have 48 hours to seek treatment).
Rabies is universally fatal once you start showing symptoms. There is no cure. So, even though rabies vaccines are expensive in Bali, you must seek a rabies vaccination following a bite.
Typhoid is a common water/food-borne bacterial infection that is endemic to Bali. The Australian government recommends that you get up-to-date with typhoid vaccination before coming to the island.
Do You Still Need A Covid Vaccine For Bali?
No, you do not need a Covid Vaccine for Bali or Indonesia. This requirement has been formally repealed by the Indonesian government.
This is true for all visa types. We know that there are some sources online that imply that some visas still require certification against COVID-19, these sources are simply out of date, now.
Do You Need A Proof Of Vaccination To Enter Bali?
No. When you don’t need a vaccine, you don’t need to prove you had that vaccine, either.
Do You Need To Download Or Use The SATUSEHAT Application In Bali?
No. The Covid tracking app is no longer in use in Bali and you do not need to download or use it.
Do You Need Vaccinations To Go To Bali? Can I Travel To Bali If I Am Not Vaccinated?
You are not legally obliged to take any vaccines to enter Bali or Indonesia as a whole, except if you are travelling from a Yellow Fever zone – then you must provide a certificate of vaccination.
However, it is a good idea to take precautions before visiting the country and the Australian government recommends the treatments listed above for most travellers who visit the island.
Does Indonesia Require a Covid Vaccine?
No. Indonesia no longer requires you to have an up-to-date Covid vaccination. However, if you think you may have COVID-19 while in the country, you should seek appropriate medical treatment.
Do You Need A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate For Bali?
In most circumstances, no. However, if you have recently passed through a yellow fever zone, you will need to demonstrate that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever if asked to do so by immigration.
If you cannot supply a vaccine certificate when called upon to do so, you may be denied entry to Bali.
Final Thoughts On Vaccine Bali
Travel health is a complex area but most tourists in Bali will never experience any health problems worse than Bali belly.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the right vaccinations for Bali, either. It’s better not to take any risks when it comes to your health.