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Yellow Fever - Vaccination Availability, Vaccination Requirements for Entry into Panama, and Certification of Vaccination


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Yes, yellow fever shots are available in David. Never checked into hepatitis shots.

When I got my yellow fever shot a couple of years ago, I asked at Dr. Chen's office here in Boquete. He referred me to a hospital in David, but I cannot remember it's name. It is a government-run hospital in David, and is where the morgue is located. The shot is not available at Hospital Chiriqui or Mae Lewis; at least it wasn't at that time and I suspect still not.

When I arrived I was told that I needed an appointment, but I took on a dismayed expression and commented that I had driven "all the way" from Boquete. The nurse said not to worry, and she asked me to wait. I did wait, but only for a few minutes. It turned out she was preparing the shot for me. After the shot, I was asked to pay a small amount, which I recall was only about $3.00.

Take your yellow international immunization card with you when you get the shot. They will annotate the card after administering the shot.

I guess everyone knows that yellow fever shots are good for ten years.

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6 hours ago, Bud said:

Yes, yellow fever shots are available in David. Never checked into hepatitis shots.

When I got my yellow fever shot a couple of years ago, I asked at Dr. Chen's office here in Boquete. He referred me to a hospital in David, but I cannot remember it's name. It is a government-run hospital in David, and is where the morgue is located. The shot is not available at Hospital Chiriqui or Mae Lewis; at least it wasn't at that time and I suspect still not.

When I arrived I was told that I needed an appointment, but I took on a dismayed expression and commented that I had driven "all the way" from Boquete. The nurse said not to worry, and she asked me to wait. I did wait, but only for a few minutes. It turned out she was preparing the shot for me. After the shot, I was asked to pay a small amount, which I recall was only about $3.00.

Take your yellow international immunization card with you when you get the shot. They will annotate the card after administering the shot.

I guess everyone knows that yellow fever shots are good for ten years.

I also got my yellow fever shot at the place in David which is the Public Health Department. You drive down the road on the back side of Super Baru. You will pass Clinica Cattan. On the corner where the private Club David is, you turn right and then immediately into the driveway of the government building. The Health Department is around back (next to the morgue). At one time you needed the shot to return to Panama after visiting Colombia; I'm quite sure no longer is this the case.

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4 hours ago, Dottie Atwater said:

PLEASE do research before you get ANY vaccinations!

I've done plenty of research, all of which I've found to be questionable at best, and will continue to get vaccinations when warranted. Moreover, travelers know that you won't be admitted to some countries without certain vaccinations.

Because vaccines have eradicated or contained diseases that once killed thousands upon thousands of people, we have forgotten what it was like before vaccines were developed. I grew up in a town hit hard by the polio epidemic in the fifties, and I haven't forgotten because my best friend was crippled for life. And I lost a great-grandparent to tetanus and a great-great-grandparent to typhoid. I spent a year in West Africa in the sixties (and was required to get numerous vaccinations before going), where I witnessed death and suffering from diseases controllable by vaccination but not available to the rural populace.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Moderators

Following article comes from The Visitor / El Visitante issue dated 23-29 March 2017.

Here is the text:

Quote

Get your vaccination

Twenty-six Brazilians were returned to their country from Tocumen International Airport for failing to carry the yellow fever vaccination card. This was confirmed by Aurelio Rangel, director of the Metropolitan Health Region, who pointed out that authorities are on alert for the disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and monkeys. Rangel detailed that not only Brazilians will be returned if they do not have the card, but also those of other nationalities who have not had the vaccine.

Article re Yellow Fever Vaccinations.png

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The vaccine is probably required only for people from countries where yellow fever is a problem.  Brazil is having an outbreak right now.  That is why Brazilians entering Panama need to be vaccinated.  The other countries referred to are probably those that also have yellow fever.  The U.S. is not one of those countries.  I doubt you will be asked for proof of vaccination if you are coming from there. 

A friend and I are going to an African country that requires yellow fever vaccinations.  We went to the ministry of health in David and were told we were too old for the vaccine, so they gave us a medical exemption card.  They would not give us the vaccination.  Both WHO and CDC do not advise the vaccine for anybody over 60.  It is risky for that age group, especially if you have never been vaccinated before for yellow fever.

If you decide to get the vaccine, the only place to get it is at the Ministry of Health in David.  It is across from Clinica Cattan.

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2 hours ago, Bonnie said:

I got a yellow fever vaccination when I went to China at age 64. No questions asked at the Ministry of Health in David.

I guess 73 was just too old.

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20 hours ago, JudyS said:

The vaccine is probably required only for people from countries where yellow fever is a problem.  Brazil is having an outbreak right now.  That is why Brazilians entering Panama need to be vaccinated.  The other countries referred to are probably those that also have yellow fever.  The U.S. is not one of those countries.  I doubt you will be asked for proof of vaccination if you are coming from there. 

 

JudyS

Your are right.

This requirement are for people travelling from some countries listed with this kind of diseases or problems.

There are vaccines requirements, not only for yellow fever but also for some other endemic diseases.  Even as a Panamanian if I will travel to those countries I should have the vaccine taken here and have that in my travelling documents when returning back to Panama.

I travel frequently to US, Central America and some South American countries without any problem.... unless they have an outbreak of any disease and the local health authorities place the requirement for vaccines.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Moderators - Healthcare

Currently, there is an outbreak of Yellow Fever in the country of Brazil, located primarily in three states there.  Although the country is trying to vaccinate its vulnerable population, the effort is far behind schedule and there is real concern that the outbreak will spread.

Colombia is now requiring that foreign visitors show proof of Yellow Fever vaccination or show a certificate of exemption prior to entering the country as a preemptive measure.  if you are planning to visit Colombia in the future, please follow these steps to ensure your entry to Colombia:

If you have previously been vaccinated for Yellow Fever and have your vaccination record, you are in luck.  It's a once in a lifetime vaccine, and you are good to go.  If you haven't been vaccinated, or can't find your records, you are going to have to get vaccinated again if you are under the age of 60.  At age 60 and above, the vaccine is contraindicated and you are not required to have the vaccine.  However, you must still obtain a certificate.  Here is the procedure for all scenarios:

If you need a yellow fever vaccine and are over 60 years of age you can get a certificate instead of having to get the vaccine on a Thursday morning. If you are under 60 or need the vaccine you must follow these procedures on Monday, Wednesday or Friday morning between 8:00-12:00.

You start at this building across from Hospital Cattan, near the bus terminal in David. Enter and on the right is a Caja. Tell them you need  a  yellow fever certificate (because you are over 60), present your residency card, and pay $5.00. The price goes up to $20 for the vaccine, and $100 for non-residents.

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You will get this receipt in green and white.  Take the receipts around the back of the building to the Epidemiology Department.

IMG_0757.jpeg.9ad58ca3362a7a7dbf368f335098da95.jpeg

 

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You must show your residency card and passport besides giving them the receipts. They will then fill in this certificate for you.

 

IMG_0758.jpeg.9e78dc2772606613885097a0fd64e0c8.jpeg

 

A tip of the hat to Betty Landis who was willing to share her experiences as she prepares for her upcoming trip!

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44 minutes ago, Uncle Doug said:

I'm one of those who have been vaccinated but can't find my records.  I'll be going through this drill soon.

I'm betting that even if you have been vaccinated, and CAN find your records that they are not on the "proper form", in Spanish, etc. and won't be accepted in Columbia or elsewhere.. maybe just cynical.  I'm assuming it's harmless to get a second vaccine, but certainly not painless.   I remember the "my arm is going to fall off" feeling, clearly.

 

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I've got a question:  I'm a 59 1/2 yr old female and don't want to get the vaccine (we went to Colombia in Feb w/o vaccine nor questions regarding papers, etc..but yea things change!), so if I were to go the the clinic in David and ask for the certificate exemption will they decline my request becuz I'm 6 months away from 60th bday? ^_^

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Well, this is Panama where they either enforce the law to the extreme or don't really enforce it at all.  But, even if you somehow convinced the clinic in David to give you the certificate, you would be taking a chance that Colombian authorities would check your passport age against the certificate and deny you entry at the airport.

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I just got off the phone with a representative with Copa airlines. She spoke to her supervisor to confirm what is on their computers regarding entry requirements for Colombia. They said presently there is a Yellow fever Vaccine "recommendation"  but NO mandatory requirement. She suggested checking with the Colombian Embassy to make sure.

This from WHO:

http://www.who.int/ith/ITH_country_list.pdf     scroll down to Colombia. Same as what Copa told me.

I have an email request to the embassy if anything has changed and will report back.

 

 

Edited by TwoSailors
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Having lived in Colombia for the past year and having visited the country often for the past 5 years, I see this topic come up often.   There are two places that "might" ask you about this.   The first is the airline you are using to fly to Colombia.   The second is at immigration when entering the country.   Airlines typically check requirements so they are not responsible for your return if you are not allowed entry.   If the airline is not requiring it, it is highly unlikely that immigration in Colombia will ask for it.   

Also, understand that the requirement is different depending on which airport you are flying too.   The larger airports do not have this requirement whereas some coastal towns and outlying airports do have this recommendation.

Living in Colombia, the recommendation has been to have the Yellow Fever Vaccination if you will be travelling to the outlying areas, such as the Amazon, coastal or border towns.   It is not needed for tourist coming to visit any  of the big cities, such as Bogota and Medellin.    As TwoSaliors pointed out, the Colombian Embassy will have the  up-to-the-minute requirements.  

It is my understanding that if you decide to get the vaccination, it needs to be done at least 10 days prior to travel to be effective.   Personally, I would recommend against it given what I know and have seen living here for the past year.

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Not sure I understand the value of the certificate which exempts an individual from getting a yellow fever vaccination. How does this certificate protect someone who is exposed to yellow fever?

Why wouldn’t someone take the extra effort to protect their health and obtain the vaccination? I appreciate the risk in not being vaccinated, but what is the risk to getting the yellow fever shot?

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15 minutes ago, Marcelyn said:

Not sure I understand the value of the certificate which exempts an individual from getting a yellow fever vaccination. How does this certificate protect someone who is exposed to yellow fever?

Why wouldn’t someone take the extra effort to protect their health and obtain the vaccination? I appreciate the risk in not being vaccinated, but what is the risk to getting the yellow fever shot?

As with anything you inject into your body, you should weigh the risks.   This is from an article in the Internal Medicine News.
Link here:  infectious-diseases/yellow-fever-vaccine-contraindications

"Decisions regarding vaccination must balance the risk of contracting the disease against the risk of vaccine side effects, Dr. Staples said. The yellow fever vaccine is a live, attenuated vaccine....  ... Safety studies have shown that approximately 10%-30% of vaccinees report mild systemic adverse events. ...   ... Serious adverse events associated with the vaccine can include anaphylaxis, yellow fever–associated neurologic disease, and yellow fever vaccine–associated viscerotropic disease."

Given the large number of people that might very well fall into a group that would be contraindicated and given that most tourists do not venture into the Amazon or outlying areas, it would seem that the risk of adverse reaction is much higher than the risk of contracting Yellow Fever.    If you are a young person with plans to hike thru the jungle areas, then yes, I would recommend getting it.   Being in the age group of over 60 and just visiting tourist locations, I see no benefit.   Besides being contraindicated by age, I also fall into the category of being sensitive to eggs, another contraindicated group.

Unfortunately, most people do not do this kind of research and just think every vaccination is a good thing when in fact it often times increases your risk.   Luckily we have forums like this one that bring attention and make people think a bit more.

 

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42 minutes ago, Twin Wolf Technology Group said:

Unfortunately, most people do not do this kind of research and just think every vaccination is a good thing when in fact it often times increases your risk.   Luckily we have forums like this one that bring attention and make people think a bit more.

Well said. After age 60 one should be very cautious about taking any vaccines. 

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Keep in mind, any event that occurs while receiving a treatment or medication is considered an adverse event but it's not necessarily causal.  For instance, if you get this vaccine, then go out for a nice spicy Mexican dinner which is followed by a case of heartburn, that heartburn will be considered an adverse event.

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  • Moderators - Healthcare

In doing some preliminary research before posting this article, I came across some interesting things to know. There is no cure for the disease, but most people recover within 5 days or so with hospitalization. But many relapse shortly thereafter, and the mortality rate among those who didn't fully recover within a week approaches 50%.

It's clearly not something you want to experience.

 

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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Yellow Fever - Vaccination Availability, Vaccination Requirements for Entry into Panama, and Certification of Vaccination

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