Travel Vaccination Advice for the Cook Islands
Let’s cut straight to the chase. No, you do not need vaccinations for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. However, this guide to the vaccines recommended for entering the Cook Islands goes through the current suggested vaccinations. In addition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that travellers be covered with up-to-date vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio when travelling anywhere in the world, including the Cook Islands. We go through the whole list of mandatory and recommended vaccinations for the Cook Islands in this guide.
What Vaccinations Do You Need to Enter Rarotonga and the Cook Islands?
There are no current vaccination mandates to enter the Cook Islands. We list all the recommended vaccines for a visit to the Cook Islands below in this guide.
Required Vaccinations for the Cook Islands
“As of September 2022, a COVID-19 vaccination is no longer mandatory for entering the Cook Islands.”
After a series of successful border closures during the 2020-2022 COVID-19 crisis, the Cook Islands boasts one of the world’s highest COVID-19 vaccination rates. As a result, there are no current vaccination mandates to enter the Cook Islands.
In the event of any policy change, we will update this page as well as our full guide on What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
Recommended Vaccinations for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Despite the list of recommended vaccinations, the likelihood of visitors to the Cook Islands getting an infectious disease is very slim, except for dengue fever (see in the “Health Issues to Be Aware of in the Cook Islands” section below), which there is no vaccine for.
Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to make sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date (adults require boosters for some vaccines), and get the travel vaccinations that we list below to stay on the safe side.
Visit your travel clinic or GP 4-6 weeks before your trip to get up-to-date information on which vaccines are best to have for the Cook Islands. When you get vaccines for you or your children, make sure to keep a record of them – many practices offer a “Travel Vaccination Passport”.
Travel Vaccinations for the Cook Islands
Hepatitis A Vaccine
Hepatitis A spreads through food and water. While most people recover completely from hepatitis A, the vaccine is close to 100% protective.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B spreads through blood and body fluids and is much more serious than hepatitis A. While treatment is complex, the prevention vaccine is highly effective.
Typhoid is a disease spread through food and water. There is no recent history of typhoid outbreaks in the Cook Islands. The typhoid vaccine typically lasts two years.
Although most of the population in Samoa is vaccinated against COVID-19, it can still be prevalent in travellers to and from the country. It’s best to be vaccinated to avoid/decrease symptoms.
Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
The MMR vaccine is given to children as routine in many countries. The vaccine is recommended to anyone unvaccinated. An adult booster is also recommended.
Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (TDAP) Vaccine
These airborne diseases are also spread through wounds. While this is a routine vaccination in children in many countries, an adult booster is recommended, particularly for pertussis.
Polio spreads through food and water. The polio vaccine is considered routine for children in many countries. A single adult booster vaccine is recommended.
Meningococcal disease, which causes meningitis, is an airborne disease that has been a minor issue in local communities in the Cook Islands in the past. The vaccine is recommended to anyone unvaccinated or at an increased risk.
Health Issues to Be Aware of in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
While the Cook Islands is safe for most travellers, there are a few slightly more common medical issues experienced in the Cook Islands. Take a look at the list below of some that you need to be aware of. For more information on symptoms, see Is it Safe to Travel to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands? – Cook Islands Safety Tips.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted disease that has regular outbreaks in the Cook Islands. While there is no vaccine for dengue fever, the best way to prevent it is to avoid being bitten by day-biting mosquitos. See the 12 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for prevention methods.
Heatstroke is caused by long periods of sun exposure. It can be prevented by applying high-factor sunscreen every three hours, covering up exposed skin, staying in the shade at midday, and drinking plenty of water. Check out our recommended sunscreens and sun protection advice in The Best Sunscreens for the Cook Islands + Sun Protection Tips.
E-coli (Traveller’s Diarrhoea)
E-coli is a virus resulting from contaminated food and water. Precautions to take include boiling water for at least 10 minutes if the water is not from a safe source and washing hands regularly. See more tips for making sure you have access to safe drinking water in our guide, Is the Water Safe to Drink in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?
Ciguatera is fish poisoning caused by eating reef fish that have eaten particular types of seaweed. The best way to prevent it is to avoid eating reef fish altogether.
Get more tips for staying safe and healthy using our Cook Islands Safety Tips.
More About Vaccines to Travel to the Cook Islands + More Health Tips
That’s it for our guide on vaccines required to travel to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. For more health advice, check out the following guides:
- What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- Is it Safe to Travel to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands? – Cook Islands Safety Tips
- Cyclone Safety in the Cook Islands: How to Prepare for a Cyclone in the Cook Islands
Finally, for more essential advice for the Cook Islands, check out the 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.