Vettori had surgery on a recurring Achilles tendon problem in June and returned to domestic cricket earlier this month.
But the 34-year-old said he did not want to attempt a premature international return and would sit out the West Indies tour, which opens with a warm-up match against a New Zealand XI on Wednesday.
"International cricket, and in particular Test cricket, places enormous demands on the body and I simply haven't played enough recently to be confident of meeting those demands," he said.
The left-armer said he would reassess his condition in the New Year, which could make him available for limited overs matches against the West Indies and a series against India, who arrive in mid-January.
"What I can't afford to do is throw myself back into the international arena prematurely and re-injure myself," he said. "It wouldn't be any good for me; it wouldn't be any good for the team."
Vettori is New Zealand's second-highest Test wicket taker with 360 scalps in 112 matches and has also contributed 4,516 runs to bolster the Black Caps' often fragile batting.
He has set himself the career goal of becoming only the second Test player after India's Kapil Dev to take 400 wickets and score 4,000 runs.
However, recent injuries have frustrated his ambition, keeping him out of Test cricket for the past 18 months.
He asked New Zealand Cricket to omit him from the list of contracted players for the current international season due to uncertainty about his availability.