Hi, A group of 10 students from Coventry University in the UK, including myself, are travelling to Hangzhou as part of a study programme with ZUMC University. We shall be arriving in September and staying for 5 months so will be therefore leaving in the middle of January. We are discussing any medical vaccinations or tablets necessary for the trip and are struggling to come to a definite answer on what we need to do/take. The main topic is the taking of Malaria tablets, should we be definitely taking them, as we all know the side effects are something to worry about. But of course, better to be safe than sorry. It would be great if you could get back to me with any advice and information on vaccinations needed for our stay Thanks very much, Kate Simpson.
There are some areas in China that are considered to present a high risk of malaria. Urban city areas are normally considered malaria free, whereas areas closer to flood plains and rivers have an increased risk.
There is a high risk of malaria on Hainan Island and within the Guangxi province, areas located in the southern region of China. There is also an increased risk of malaria within the 'flood plain' regions, areas which are close to the Yellow (Huang He) rivers and the Zangbo river.
Vaccinations against Malaria are not generally recommended for those visiting urban populated areas in China. However saying this, anti-malaria vaccinations are recommended for 'long stay' visitors to Hangzhou and other areas in China. As such, a malaria vaccination would be suitable for your travel group to China reduce the risk of malaria. While Malaria vaccinations are not needed by every visitor in the country, travelers who intend on staying China for more than three months should consult with a medical professional prior to departing on their journey to asses the need for such preventative healthcare measures.
We would also recommend that all individuals traveling in China check the status of their routine vaccinations; including, Typhoid, Tetanus, and Hepatitis A and B. Vaccinations against Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, and Tick-borne Encephalitis are also recommended for those traveling to China. These vaccinations are highly recommended for anyone planning to work in the PRC’s health and welfare field, or who have received employment working with animals, as these groups may come into contact with contaminated bodily fluids and are more likely to travel outside the usual tourist spots.
Traveling for a long period of stay will generally increase the risk of sickness in your travel group. As such, we highly recommend you take all precautions against malaria, as well as other vaccinations mentioned above. You will also want to be aware of the healthcare system in China, in the case of an accident or medical illness.
Navigating the health care system in China can be difficult for foreigners. Doctors in public hospitals rarely speak English and a different classing system is used to imply the standard of hospital services provided. A hospital classed as 3A+ would indicate the highest level of standard, whereas a classing of 1 would indicate the lowest standard offering very basic health care.
Pacific Prime recommend anyone traveling to China attend an international hospital staffed with internationally trained doctors who are proficient in English, in order to be assured that you will be treated with exceptional medical care. There is a growing selection of international hospitals based in urban areas of China, many which belong to large hospital organizations such as Parkway Health and Global HealthCare. One of the best international hospitals in Hangzhou would be the North American International Hospital Hangzhou, their contact phone number is +86 571 87780120. International hospitals in China are highly expensive, as such a health insurance plan is highly recommended for your traveling group to China.
Pacific Prime offers health insurance for travelers and expats living in China. When looking for health insurance, travelers will normally look for a travel health insurance plan. However, those travelers who plan an extended trip may be more suited to an annual international health insurance plan. This is because travel health plans are typically calculated by the day. As such, extended travel trips of 5 or more months can actually add up to the same cost as an annual international health insurance plan depending on your age, or the coverage benefits you have selected.
While both international health insurance and travel health plans offer a wide range of comprehensive benefits and medical coverage worldwide, an annual health insurance plan will provide you with a wider scope of benefits. Travel health insurance plans are taken out for a selected number of days, from 1 day up to 12 months. In the unfortunate event you acquire a serious illness or chronic condition while on your overseas trip, you may find it difficult to obtain health insurance in the future. Many health insurance companies will decline coverage if you have a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes or asthma. As such, an international health insurance plan will typically guarantee you renewal of your policy, affording you with lifelong coverage. Travel health plans can not be continued when you return home, whereas an international health insurance plan will often be able to move with you to your home country in the event that you decide to relocate.
Both international health insurance plans and travel health plans will offer extensive medical coverage for your group trip to China. Pacific Prime offers China health insurance plans that will cover your group for vaccinations, outpatient care, emergency care, hospitalization, as well as access to a 24 hour medical assistance phone line. If any member of your group gets sick while overseas, they can contact the medical helpline to obtain medical advice, locate a doctor worldwide, and organise emergency evacuation if you need it.
For more information about China Health Insurance Plans that Pacific Prime can offer you, or to receive a free quote, please contact us today.