Are there any vaccinations I should get or other health precautions to take as I prepare for my move to your city?
Recommended vaccinations
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travellers to Sri Lanka (as well as being up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations).
Adult diphtheria & tetanus - Single booster recommended if none in the previous 10 years. Side effects include sore arm and fever.
Hepatitis A - Provides almost 100% protection for up to a year; a booster after 12 months provides at least another 20 years’ protection. Mild side effects, such as headache and sore arm, occur in 5% to 10% of people.
Hepatitis B - Now considered routine for most travellers. Given as three shots over six months. A rapid schedule is also available, as is a combined vaccination with Hepatitis A. Side effects are mild and uncommon, usually headache and sore arm.
Polio - In 2004, polio was still present in Sri Lanka. Only one booster is required for lifetime protection. Inactivated polio vaccine is safe during pregnancy.
Rabies - You will need three injections in all – a booster after one year will then provide 10 years’ protection. Side effects are rare.
Typhoid - Recommended for all travellers to Sri Lanka, even if you only visit urban areas. The vaccine offers around 70% protection, lasts for two to three years and comes as a single shot. Tablets are also available; however, the injection is usually recommended as it has fewer side effects. Sore arm and fever may occur.
Varicella - If you haven’t had chickenpox, discuss this vaccination with your doctor.
Immunization recommended for long-term travellers (more than one month) or those at special risk
Japanese B Encephalitis - You will need three injections in all – and a booster is recommended after two years. Sore arm and headache are the most common side effects. Rarely, an allergic reaction of hives and swelling can occur up to 10 days after any of the three doses.
Meningitis - Single injection. There are two types of vaccination: the quadrivalent vaccine gives two to three years’ protection; meningitis group C vaccine gives around 10 years’ protection.
Tuberculosis (TB) -  A complex issue. Adult long-term travellers are usually recommended to have a TB skin test before and after travel, rather than vaccination. Only one vaccine is given in a lifetime.
Yellow Fever - for all travelers arriving from a yellow fever infected country in Africa or the Americas. For more information, please check with your local embassy or consulate before you travel.
Covid- 19- All travelers of age 16 years and older need to be fully vaccinated (completed all doses of vaccine) for COVID-19 before travel. Non-Vaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers will be quarantined for a period of 14 days and will be asked to undergo RT-PCR tests.
Before I get sick, what should I know about seeking medical care in your city as an expat?
There are many reputable private hospitals fully equipped with the latest health care equipment in Sri Lanka. These hospitals are associated with doctors and medical specialists who are world class - most of them have done extra specialist studies abroad and have also practiced abroad. It is best practice to take your medical reports with you for an easy diagnosis; however, all doctors have an excellent command of English.
Payment by cash or Credit Card is the accepted practice. It is very important that you have an insurance policy that covers treatment outside of your home country and with medical evacuation coverage - this will be extremely valuable and you will be welcomed at any hospital.
For more information on medical care, please contact your local consulate or Crown Sri Lanka.
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What is the word for "doctor" in the local language?
"Doctor" is a universally understood word even in Sri Lanka.
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What is the best way to locate a suitable health care provider?
You will find all medical and health facilities from a Google search or the most important ones in the front of your local telephone book, however, a recommendation from a work colleague, neighbor, or other expatriate is more desirable. Should you need further assistance, please contact Crown Sri Lanka.
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Do expats in the area tend to leave the city/area/country to seek medical care? If so, why and where do they go?
Most expatriates tend to stay in the country for their medical care because healthcare is of an extremely high standard. However, some expatriates choose to go overseas for treatment (particularly those who are expecting a baby) and there are some who choose to wait for a trip back to their home land to visit their regular doctor.
As previously mentioned, medical practitioners in Sri Lanka are truly top-notch so leaving the country is not really necessary.
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What is the number to call to summon help in an emergency? List medical/fire/police.
Depending on the emergency, here are some numbers.
Police – 119
Fire and ambulance – 110
National help desk – 118
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What do I do if there's an emergency in the middle of the night—or at another time when my normal doctor/clinic is unavailable?
If an emergency occurs in the middle of the night, either call one of the numbers above or below and wait for an ambulance, or ask a family member or friend to drive you to the closest major hospital in your area. Major hospitals have 24-hour emergency clinics, so identifying the closest 24-hour emergency clinic from where you live is an important task once you have had a chance to settle in. There are a few private establishments that provide ambulance services. If you stay in an apartment, the reception will assist you swiftly.
St. Johns – +94 112 437744
Sri Lanka Red Cross – +94 11 2691095
Lanka Hospitals – 1566
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How will I recognize a pharmacy? What is it called in the local language?
The pharmacy is also called a chemist and there will be a red cross above or by the door. There are a few chemists who are open 24 hours, especially those located around major hospitals. All hospitals and clinics will have 24 hour in-house pharmacies. It is always better to carry a prescription as there are restrictions and local regulations in issuing medicines over the counter. Some medications are available under different names and therefore it is always better to cross check with the doctor before purchasing same.
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Is the water safe to drink?
It is not safe to drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected. It is recommended you use bottled water from reputable suppliers which are available in major supermarkets.
It is not advisable to eat fruits or vegetables sold on the sidewalks unless they have been peeled or cooked.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.