Yellow Fever Vac for Kenya

May 9th, 2019, 06:06 AM
  #1  
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Yellow Fever Vac for Kenya

I am just looking for personal opinions on getting the yellow fever vaccination for Kenya. I am 73. I have done considerable research on this and am so conflicted because of my age and the fact that there has been no reported case of yellow fever since 1995. Of course I will be seeing a travel vaccination specialist. I am reasonably sure they will tell me to get it, but my age and the possible side effects scare me. Just asking for personal experiences, especially from those of you over 60 who have decided whether to get it or not.
vatraveler46 is offline  
May 9th, 2019, 06:27 AM
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I got the vaccination in my sixties. I had to get approval from my primary care doctor. I had no side effects. However, everybody's situation is different.

I take it you read this, which includes a mention of a waiver letter: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis...ements/yf.html

I am now on medication which precludes me taking live vaccines and would not be able to get the shot again. If I needed the shot now I would contact the relevant embassy about using a waiver letter.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 9th, 2019, 07:01 AM
  #3  
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Thank you so much for your reply. I did read the thread about the waiver letter. As far as I know, I have no reason to qualify for one. I'm just trying to weigh the risks pro and con.
vatraveler46 is offline  
May 9th, 2019, 07:27 AM
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I think you can qualify for the waiver based on age. The vaccine is not advised for people over 60. Are you worried about getting into Kenya? Or are you worried about visiting Kenya without the shot?

Last edited by thursdaysd; May 9th, 2019 at 07:47 AM. Reason: Cleared up silly question
thursdaysd is offline  
May 9th, 2019, 07:00 PM
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If you are just going to Kenya to/from Europe or the States etc you don't need it. Only if you are coming from an infected possible country.
live42day is offline  
May 10th, 2019, 08:56 AM
  #6  
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I'm not required to have it. It is recommended by the CDC to have it when traveling to Kenya, and my travel clinic recommended that I get it for my own protection, but I'm seriously considering not getting it.
vatraveler46 is offline  
May 10th, 2019, 09:39 AM
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Sounds like your travel clinic is more interested in your money than your health. At your age they should not give you the vaccine without approval from your primary care physician. The one I used (Passport Travel) required the letter.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 10th, 2019, 10:55 AM
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A primary care physician doesn’t know anything about travel vaccines or CDC requirements. Mine punted entirely on the issue, fully admitting it’s out of his wheelhouse. I would completely defer to travel medicine physicians, who are trained in infectious disease, the vaccines and their contraindications, and international requirements. They are better suited to knowing who should or shouldn’t get the shot than some general practitioner.
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May 10th, 2019, 11:15 AM
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Your general practitioner should know a whole lot more about your health and how you may react to vaccines than the travel clinic! In my experience the clinic staff mostly read the CDC info, which you can do yourself.
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May 10th, 2019, 12:17 PM
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You clearly don’t go to a travel medicine specialist at Mass General Hospital in Boston then. My GP referred me to a specialist because infectious disease and international travel medicine is not what he does. He wouldn’t try to take on cardiology or neurology, but he will refer when he know he’s out of his league. It’s up to me as a patient to tell the specialist what my health concerns are, and if I cannot communicate them, bring copies of my records. Any specialist worth their salt is going to say “Oh, you have this problem, I’m aware of the contraindications of vaccines against infectious diseases.” We’re going to disagree on this one, thursday. I couldn’t think you’re more wrong after having gone to mine for over 10 years. There’s no way I’d trust anyone who “just reads the CDC info”. I want the credentials behind them.
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May 10th, 2019, 12:32 PM
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We don't all live in Boston. The travel clinic at Duke that I used to visit closed down several years ago, These days it's Passport Travel or my primary care physician.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 10th, 2019, 07:01 PM
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First, you don't need the YF jab to enter Kenya arriving directly from the US and, consequently, there's no need for a waiver letter (for which you would, in fact, qualify based on being >60).

You then need to consider whether you should get the jab for your protection. In doing so, one should consider the risk of getting YF against the risk of a serious side effect of the jab. You correctly point out that there has not been a home-grown case of YF in nearly 25 years; essentially, the risk of contracting YF is negligible in Kenya. The YF jab is pretty safe, but significant side effects, can occur at a rate of ~1/220,000 in those over 60. Rarely, those over 60 can die from the shot, but it does happen. If one's risk of contracting YF is next to nothing, it begs the question why one would risk a significant reaction from the jab. I'd suggest sitting down with your doctor to discuss the matter.
sdb2 is offline  
May 11th, 2019, 04:48 AM
  #13  
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Thank you for that opinion. It's what I am thinking at this point, too. My odds with the shot are a little worse since the risk of side effects increases the older you are, and I am 73. I will definitely talk to my doctor about it, but ultimately the decision is going to be mine. I'm just on here to get the opinions of others in my situation. It almost seems like a "damned if I do, damned if I don't" situation.
vatraveler46 is offline  
May 11th, 2019, 01:14 PM
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If you haven't done it, I suggest you also post your question at the Kenya forum at Tripadvisor.com. You'll be able to get responses not only from visitors but also from those who have lived or are living there. They might give you information that will lessen your anxiety over the matter. If you indicate where you're going in Kenya that would likely be helpful. Good luck!
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May 11th, 2019, 01:44 PM
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Thank you. Good idea. I will do that.
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May 12th, 2019, 11:27 AM
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I assume you've seen the YF transmission area map on the CDC, which is what the travel specialists are looking at. I probably would pass given your age, live vaccine and shortage of supply in the US. Especially if you're going in dry season. I was aware of the age limit back before I turned 60 and chose to get one then, had a lump on my arm as a reaction but no fever or headache. Now they're saying that vaccination is good for life (I had one about 60 years ago as a youngster but now I have my certificiate). No one is going to ask for it as far as I know. Either in Kenya or the US. I leave it at home when I travel unless I think there may be an outbreak nearby (eg Brazil has had one recently).

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowb...nya#seldyfm879

Last edited by mlgb; May 12th, 2019 at 11:31 AM.
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