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Philippines

Page last updated on 28 April 2020

Located at the very top of the coral triangle is the Philippines. The Philippines is made up of 7,641 islands and is home to the highest concentration of coral, flora and fauna, marine, bird and reptile species in the world.

Latest security advice
Do not travel
The Philippines has implemented a range of quarantine measures and restrictions for COVID-19. The National Capital Region, including Manila and southern Luzon provinces, is now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). The remainder of the country is under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). It's mandatory to wear face shields on public transport. Follow the advice of local authorities for specific restrictions in your area and monitor the Australian Ambassador's social media and the embassy website for major updates.

We advise:

Do not travel to the Philippines.

If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, you won’t be disappointed. Its natural beauty is unquestionable, from stunning tropical beaches and waterfalls, to volcanoes, caves and picturesque rice terraces. And to accompany all of this, home to one of the world’s smallest species of monkey – the bug-eyed Tarsier. 

The capital of the Philippines, Manila, blends the oriental with the occidental, blending historic and modern. From the oldest, most historic walled district of ‘Intramuros’, with its old dungeons and gunpowder rooms to the modern shopping malls and theatres, Manila is filled with life and diversity.
 
A tropical island paradise still comes with its risks of contracting vaccine-preventable disease or illnesses. Speak with your healthcare professional about the vaccinations or preventative medications you might need to protect yourself prior to your departure.

Before you go to Philippines

What vaccinations do I need for the Philippines?

All travellers should be up to date with their routine vaccinations before heading off to the Philippines. These include vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, polio and influenza. For a full list, refer to the National Immunisation Program – available here.

Most travellers 
There is an increased risk of contracting hepatitis A and typhoid in the Philippines, both of which can be contracted through contaminated food or water. 

Some travellers
Depending on the duration of your stay, where you are staying and what activities you have planned, the following vaccinations may be recommended for you by your doctor:

  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis B 
  • Japanese encephalitis (particularly if you are visiting rural areas and/or spending a lot of time outdoors)
  • Malaria
  • Rabies (can be found in dogs, bats and other mammals)
How much do vaccinations for Philippines cost?

Medicare will only cover your GP consultation cost in most cases, but some private travel clinics may incur an out of pocket expense. Medicare will not cover the vaccinations, and vaccination prices vary a lot. The average cost of a single travel vaccine can very between $45-85. 

If you have private healthcare, you may find they will cover some costs, but this varies from one company to another – check with your personal insurer for more details. 
 

How long before you travel to the Philippines do you need vaccinations?

It is best to consult with your doctor or travel health clinic at least 4 weeks prior to your departure. They will be able to advise you about any vaccinations that you may need for your trip well before you leave, based on your specific travel plans. 

What your doctor will need to know:

  • When you plan to travel (time of year/season)
  • The duration of your trip 
  • The regions of the Philippines you are visiting 
  • Your planned activities (i.e. if you are going trekking or visiting remote and/or wilderness areas)
  • If you will be in contact with animals
  • If you are up-to-date with your routine vaccinations  

Your doctor may also conduct a general health check-up. This may be needed for your travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

If you are not up-to-date with your routine vaccinations or if the doctor believes you may be at an increased risk of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease, then they may recommend you get a booster or be revaccinated against a particular disease. 
 

Are vaccinations for travel covered by health insurance?

Some health insurance companies provide coverage for vaccinations. You will need to contact your health insurance provider to see what they cover.

When you see your doctor regarding your trip, Medicare may cover the total cost of your consultation fees (if it is a bulk billing practice), or otherwise a portion of the cost. However, if you need to be vaccinated, Medicare will not cover the cost of the vaccines themselves.

I'm travelling for work to Manila, do I need vaccines before I travel?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that all travellers are up-to-date with their routine vaccinations including  measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox), polio, and influenza. These vaccinations are given as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP). For a full list please refer to the NIP schedule, available here.

In some cases, you may need a booster or re-vaccination against a disease to ensure you still have immunity.


Other diseases that are considered a risk in Manila include hepatitis A, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, and rabies. Malaria is common in some parts of the Philippines, but not so much in Manila. Your doctor will be able to let you know which vaccinations are recommended for you, based on the time of year, destination/s, activities planned and the duration of your stay. 

How to keep healthy when travelling in the Philippines?

The standard of healthcare facilities in the Philippines varies from place to place. So, it is important you a prepared before heading off on your trip.

See your doctor at least 4 weeks before departure to discuss your travel health requirements.

VaccineHub offers general information only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice

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Sources & Citations

  1. Worldometers. Philippines Population (live). Available at: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/philippines-population/ [accessed 02 April 2020].
  2. Filipino Government. About the Philippines. Available at: https://www.gov.ph/about-the-philippines [accessed 02 April 2020].
  3. Convention on Biological Diversity – Philippines. Available at: https://www.cbd.int/countries/profile/?country=ph [accessed 02 April 2020].
  4. Traveller. Secret’s out – Asia’s most overlooked paradise. Available at: https://www.traveller.com.au/secrets-out-asias-most-overlooked-paradise-3e2af [accessed 03 April 2020].
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers’ health – Philippines. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/philippines [accessed 03 April 2020].
  6. Finder. Travel vaccinations. Available at: https://www.finder.com.au/travel-vaccinations [accessed 03 April 2020].
  7. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Traveler’s Health Pack Smart. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart [accessed 03 April 2020].
  8. NSW Government. Mosquitoes are a health hazard fact sheet. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/mosquito.aspx [accessed 03 April 2020].
  9. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA, DoH team up in fighting rabies in PH. Available at: https://www.jica.go.jp/philippine/english/office/topics/news/191010_01.html [accessed 03 April 2020].
  10. Australian Government. Smart Traveller – Infectious Diseases. Available at: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/before-you-go/health/diseases [accessed 03 April 2020].

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0160(1) - Date of preparation April 2020

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