It’s shot time!

Since I’m finally going some more exotic places in the next couple months I read up on the CDC site to see what I need:

Panama: Just up-to-date on routine shots, but might want to get Hepatitis A and Typhoid since the sanitation conditions for food may not be the same. I only got one in the series of Hep A and I don’t show records of a Typhoid vaccine.

Ethiopia: A little more than Panama…In addition to Hep A and Typhoid they recommend Polio as well and say to get a booster as an adult.  According to my records I’ve only had the Polio vaccine the year I entered Kindergarten so sounds like that one may be coming up.  The real concern I have with Ethiopia (plus Panama to some countries I guess) is Yellow Fever.  Although the CDC doesn’t list Ethiopia as requiring a Yellow Fever vaccine* it sounds like Seychelles may see that I have been to Ethiopia and want to see proof of my Yellow Fever vaccination.  At first I thought I was just going to have a couple hours in Addis Ababa, but now my itinerary has been changed by United and I’ll have a 2 day connection in Addis Ababa.  Since I was just going to Seychelles to go and hadn’t really made plans that didn’t bother me, but now I really need to be sure I have my ducks in a row since I will technically enter Ethiopia.

*(according to this CDC link Panama and Ethiopia only have Yellow Fever in certain areas.  I’d imagine most customs/immigration agents don’t play epidemiology or geography games so it’s probably easier to just get the shot since I’ll have 2 countries on the list.  Brazil is also there and I’ve been to Brazil as well, but that was the last trip in my old passport so there is no evidence in my current passport)

CDC Yellow Fever
CDC Yellow Fever

Seychelles: Same old, same old, make sure routine vaccines are up-to-date

Ireland: Nothing recommended here for “Most Travelers” but now for “Some Travelers” it says Hep A, Hep B, and Rabies.  Hmm…I’ll make sure to stay away from men who are foaming at the mouth because maybe it’s not Guinness.

Now, it’s only really my job to verify that I may need to get some vaccines at all.  Now it’s up to me to dump this on the medical experts and see how they interpret this.  Since the Yellow Fever shot isn’t as ubiquitous as something like a Hep A shot I again used the CDC site to find providers.  Sounds like the Mecklenburg County Health Department has a whole Travel Clinic but since I’m a bit of an elitist and I saw a place called Passport Health that sounded more my speed.  After going to a walk-in clinic for malaria pills last time I went abroad and pretty much having every screw up from them I could have I decided I’ll pay the extra money and see people who claim to specialize in travel health.  It’s hard scheduling appointments with erratic travel schedules, but Passport Health got me in when I’m home next so so far, so good!

Do I really need a yellow fever vaccine?  I’d rather just pay the $150 and have it than get all the way to Seychelles and get turned back.  I’m just viewing the cost as a trip insurance.    Hopefully things will go well at Passport Health and I will continue to use them when I book more exotic trips.  I haven’t had any adverse reactions to any other vaccines or medicines so I’ll do my part for herd immunity.



  1. FYI. The Hepatitis A vaccine is extremely efficacious. You are 90% covered if you just get one of the 2 recommended doses.

    Also, yellow fever vaccine is only available from clinics that are licensed to give it. I am a physician and I had to go to a travel clinic to get it. I thought the shot was super painful so I am glad it is good for 10 years.

  2. I agree with smitty06 that yellow fever is very painful. I got my tetanus booster the same time as yellow fever, and yellow fever was by far the worst.

    1. Ouch! Good to know, Chad! Tetanus usually leaves me sore. My Tetanus is current though, but at Passport Health they do ask for my full immunization history and everything so if my math is wrong I may need one of those too. Last dose was 2007 and I thought they are good 7-10 years.

      And good to know about Hep A. I’ll save my money then since I don’t plan on eating sketchy food.

  3. Word of caution on Yellow Fever — in Africa (I say broadly but I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Ghana, and heard of reports elsewhere), if you don’t have a “Yellow Book” that proves you have Yellow Fever vax, they will administer it there at a “nominal” cost (I think it was $30 US in Ghana). Even if you do have the vax, you still need to have (and in some cases, they won’t even let you into the terminal).

    Another thing — if you’ve visited a country known to have a Yellow Fever problem, places like Thailand may require you have a Yellow Card proving you have been vaccinated and if not may again require you to take a vax.

    1. Thanks, Trevor. Yes, I better get the yellow book when I get my shot because that is my understanding of how it works too…it’s the proof of the shot that matters. I’m more concerned with being denied entry to subsequent countries than I am of actually getting yellow fever, but considering how much mosquitoes love me I’ll take a weekend of soreness in my shoulder over whatever yellow fever actually does.

  4. The Yellow Fever shot is not like getting a flu shot. It knocked me out for two days. I had no energy. My husband did not have this reaction. If you don’t need it, don’t get it. My advice FWIW.

  5. Grace, I have had just about every innoculation known to man, including anthrax. Although they are a pain to get (pun intended), it is like buying insurance. A little now avoids a lot of pain, and possibly permanent damage, later. Typhoid is a must and I highly recommend Rabies as the consequences are so high if you happen to get it.

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