The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).
Vanuatu is a developing nation in the lower half of the world's economies. Located between Fiji and Australia in the Pacific Ocean, it consists of a chain of islands. Its climate is tropical.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, or typhoid fever. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
See also: Library article for Malaria
The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)(2017) Low to moderate malaria risk due predominantly to P. vivax exists throughout the year in most of the country. P. vivax resistant to chloroquine reported. Malaria risk due to P.falciparum is still present.
- Recommended prevention: C – Risk of P. falciparum malaria, in combination with reported chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine resistance. Mosquito bite prevention plus atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis (select according to reported side effects and contraindications) a
aAlternatively, for travel to rural areas with low risk of malaria infection, mosquito bite prevention can be combined with stand–by emergency treatment (SBET).
WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.
CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)Areas with malaria: All.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: Moderate.
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine
- Malaria species: P. falciparum 60%, P. vivax 35%-40%, P. ovale < 1%.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine.
4 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
Moderate risk exists throughout the country, with minimal risk in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.
Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.
Other Food-Borne Illnesses
Precautions to prevent seafood poisoning may be needed.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.
Low risk of violent crime (home invasion and sexual assault) and petty crime exists throughout the country, mainly in remote tourist sites and/or beaches.
Scams involving ATMs and credit cards have been reported.
Protests and demonstrations may infrequently occur and have the potential to turn violent without warning.
Passenger boats may be unsafe, including ferries, small crafts, and speedboats traveling between islands. Decline water transportation in vessels that appear overloaded or lack personal flotation devices or life jackets.
Basic safety standards for recreational water activities (including scuba diving, snorkeling, jet-skiing, rafting, kayaking, and tubing) may not be in place. Rent water sports equipment from reputable operators. Scuba dive only with personnel certified by PADI or NAUI, and use equipment only from PADI- or NAUI-certified dive operators.
Other Safety Threats
Sharks are present in the waters off Vanuatu, particularly around the islands of Espiritu Santo and Malakula.
High risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is 12 to 24 per 100,000 population. The rate is < 10 in most high-income countries. No speed laws exist. Driving at night is not advised. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark.
Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.
The cyclone season is from November through April. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Seismic and volcanic activity frequently occurs.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Vanuatu
- United States: The U.S. does not have an embassy or consulate in Vanuatu.
- Canada: Canada does not have an embassy or consulate in Vanuatu.
- United Kingdom: U.K. does not have an embassy or consulate in Vanuatu.
- Australia: [+678] 22-777; vanuatu.embassy.gov.au
Vanuatu's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: Vanuatu does not have an embassy or consulate in the U.S.
- In Canada: Vanuatu does not have an embassy or consulate in Canada.
- In the U.K.: Vanuatu does not have an embassy or consulate in the U.K.
- In Australia: [+61] 02-6282-9931
HIV and hepatitis testing may be required to obtain a work or residence visa.