What Vaccines Do You Need for the Olympics?

Recommended Vaccines for Travel to Rio de Janeiro

Houses on a hill side in Rio de Janeiro
Rio's Santa Teresa neighborhood. Leonardo Martins/Getty Images

As Latin America's largest country, Brazil has huge regional differences in climate, landscape, and, therefore, disease prevalence. The coastal areas of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have different conditions from inland states like Minas Gerais or northeastern states like Bahia. Before you go to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, you should know what vaccines you need for the Olympics and make plans to visit the doctor or travel clinic before your trip.

When should you see your doctor before visiting Brazil?

Plan to visit your doctor or travel clinic at least four to six weeks before your trip. If you will get vaccinated, you'll need to allow plenty of time for the vaccine to take effect. You will also need to let your health care provider know exactly which parts of Brazil you'll be visiting and what types of travel conditions you'll be encountering; for example, will you be staying with family or in a 5-star hotel in Rio

Once your health care provider knows about your travel plans, you'll be able to decide what types of safety precautions to take while there and which vaccines to get before departing.

What vaccines do you need for the Olympics?

Vaccines are not required for entry to Brazil. The following vaccines are recommended for all people who travel Rio de Janeiro:

Routine vaccines:

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all travelers be up-to-date on routine vaccines before traveling to Brazil.

These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and flu vaccines.

Hepatitis A: 

Hepatitis A is a common disease in developing countries, especially in rural areas but also exists in urban areas. The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart and is considered safe for anyone over 1 year of age.

However, if you are unable to receive both doses, it is highly recommended to get the first dose as soon as travel is considered because one dose will provide adequate protection against the disease. The vaccine has been a routine childhood vaccine in the United States since 2005. It is considered 100% effective when administered correctly.

Typhoid: 

Typhoid is a serious disease that is spread by contaminated water and food in much of the developing world. The typhoid vaccine is recommended for travel to Brazil. The vaccine can be administered through pills or an injection. However, the typhoid vaccine is only about 50%-80% effective, so you will still need to take precautions with what you eat and drink, especially with street food in Brazil (which is delicious and generally safe!).

Yellow fever:

Yellow fever is prevalent in Brazil but not in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Therefore, a vaccine against yellow fever is not recommended for people traveling to Rio, but if you plan to travel to other places in Brazil, it is likely that a yellow fever vaccine will be recommended at least ten days before your trip. The yellow fever vaccine can be given to children over the age of 9 months and all adults.

Yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for travel to the following cities: Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and São Paulo. Check this map for more information about yellow fever in Brazil.

Malaria:

The malaria vaccine is not given to travelers to Rio de Janeiro. Malaria is found only certain inland parts of Brazil, including the Amazon rain forest. See this map for more information.

Zika, dengue and chikungunya:

Zika, dengue and chikungunya are three mosquito-borne illnesses which are prevalent in Brazil. There is currently no vaccine available. Fears over the Zika virus after the recent outbreak in Brazil have prompted concern from travelers. While pregnant women and people who plan to become pregnant are advised to avoid travel to Brazil, others are advised to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and watch for symptoms of infection.

Find out more here.

Learn more about how to stay safe in Rio de Janeiro.