Yellow Fever East Africa

Jul 5th, 2004, 08:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 119
Yellow Fever East Africa

We are very against taking vaccines and only take those which are legally neccessary for entry into a country. We have been told by our tour operator, CCAfrica, that the requirement for Yellow Fever Vaccination to enter Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar has been lifted. My question is, has anyone been asked to show a Yellow card when returning to the UK or USA? We will be returning via London.
styleoracle is offline  
Jul 6th, 2004, 04:16 AM
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styleoracle - Can't comment about the UK, but I know it wasn't looked for upon returning to the USA. That said, while CCAfrica indicated that the Yellow Fever requirement has been lifted, that doesn't mean that the individuals at the border crossings are aware of it. And if that is the case and you find yourself at the border being asked for your Yellow Card and don't have it - then what?

I don't recall being asked to show my Yellow Card on any of my visits*, but since most travellers keep it inside their passpsort, the individual at the border can clearly see you have it.

*While we weren't asked to show the card in Kenya or Tanzania, when we arrived in The Seychelles from Kenya, all aboard the plane which had simply stopped in Nairobi to pick up passengers, were asked to show that they had indeed been inoculated. Realize that most paxs on board were British citizens who were only flying to The Seychelles and never even deplanned in Kenya (all had to be inoculated for The Seychelles).

In another instance, a traveler (AAFrequentFlyer) recently had a situation in that he had the Yellow Card which wasn't really checked while he was in Kenya, but when he arrived in South Africa and also Singapore on the same trip, was asked about his trip to Kenya and whether he had the Yellow Card as proof of inoculation. Indicative that other countries might not be aware that the requirement was "lifted."

I don't believe anyone of us willing run out to get inoculations on general principle, but when you're dealing with some third-world countries where information might not get to the individuals who require it (border crossing personnel), I'd hate to be in the situation of having to explain why I didn't to the guy standing there, in uniform and holding an AK47 or Uzi.

From our experiences and that of others, and except, maybe for a sore upper arm, there are few if any side-effects. We had absolutely none. And besides this one-shot inoculation is good for 10-years, and you have no idea where your travel may take you in the coming years.
Jul 6th, 2004, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Just so you know, if you go to Zanzibar from either mainland Tanzania or Kenya, you will be asked in Zanzibar for your yellow card. A friend of mine who lives in Tanzania (born and raised) recently vacationed in Zanzibar and had to show her yellow fever vaccination when she landed in Zanzibar, but not when she landed in Dar to go back home to Arusha. FYI.
SusanLynne is offline  
Jul 6th, 2004, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
I was not asked to show evidence of my YF vaccination on entry to or exit from Kenya in April 2004 nor on return to the UK.

I did get it since I had not heard of any significant worries over the safety of this vaccine.

Sometimes people forget that the horrors of the diseases these vaccines guard against are often worse (and more prevalent, when vaccination rates lower) than the rare side effects that a very small percentage of patients suffer.

That said, it is, of course, your choice and that must be respected.

Perhaps you could obtain a letter confirming the change of policy from the appropriate embassies and have it on hand to show any officials locally who are not aware of the change in requirements?
Kavey is offline  
Jul 6th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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Even with written confirmation one never knows. Kind of reminds me of the new TSA approved luggage locks that passengers can use because the inspectors have a key they will open them. Well, now so in all instances. There are more than enough posts from travelers complaining that the locks have been broken as any other lock would be; or that inspectors don't have (weren't provided) the key to unlock these properly.

As Susan mentions, Zanzibar will likely request it, even though it's part of Tanzania and you'll be visiting Zanzibar. And as Kavey mentioned, minor side-effects, if any, versus the possibility of coming down with Yellow Fever.

There are as many people claiming with puffed chest how they've never had any inoculations or taken Malaria meds and they've been fine. But then there are those who have taken everything required and still come down with Malaria. But Malaria is different than Yellow Fever - there is no inoculation for Malaria, so pills and repellent are necessary. With YF, there is an inoculation, which is 99% effective. I'd go with the 99%.
Jul 8th, 2004, 05:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 532
We were told the same, and considering that we had a CCAfrica rep with us almost the entire time (or someone ushering us through customs, etc.) I didn't expect it to be an issue - though we didn't go to Zanzibar so I'd strongly consider SusanLynne's advice. AND, our physician who specializes in vaccines and foreign travel strongly recommended we go ahead and get the shot if we planned to travel anywhere else before renewing our passport. Quite a few countries now (notably China) will not let you in if they see in your passport that you've visited East Africa and do not have that yellow piece of paper.
hlphillips2 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2005, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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<Quite a few countries now (notably China) will not let you in if they see in your passport that you've visited East Africa and do not have that yellow piece of paper.>

Could you tell me the source of your information specifically for China? I know that some countries will ask to see proof of YF vaccination if you're flying directly from East Africa or within X number of days, but I've never heard of a blanket statement like that before. The times that I've entered China, I don't think the immigration officials ever bothered to look through all of the various other visas and stamps in my passport. They were only concerned with the Chinese visa.
Patty is online now  
Jun 8th, 2005, 08:42 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 68
Our shot records were checked for the yellow fever vaccination when we entered South Africa from Tanzania last year.
Scout52 is offline  

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