BY PROF. DR. WOLFGANG H. THOME, ETN AFRICA CORESPONDENT
According to information received, the 67th World Health Organization Assembly has resolved to make significant changes to the administration and requirements of Yellow Fever inoculations. At present, the vaccination has to be repeated every 10 years, but studies conducted have revealed that a once-in-a-lifetime jab will be enough to ensure lasting protection against the fever, which periodically registers outbreaks in Africa and subsequently requires travelers to be vaccinated to avoid the risk of infection.
Countries like the Seychelles for instance require a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate from every passenger arriving from the mainland’s areas on the Yellow Fever map, even if only connecting for instance in Nairobi for an onward flight to Mahe. Even African countries have periodically “thrown the book” at travelers requiring them to produce Yellow Fever vaccination certificates, leading to protests by neighboring countries about making travel unnecessarily difficult, one such example being the imposition of such requirements last year by South Africa on visitors from for instance Zambia and Zimbabwe or as in the past seen by Tanzania for travelers from Kenya and Uganda.
The change in regulations will no doubt be warmly welcomed by travelers, more so as of late there has been a significant shortage of vaccination doses, complicating travel when the 10-year period was about to expire. It is advisable, however, to check prior to travel about the current requirements for a Yellow Fever vaccination card in particular during the coming weeks as the implementation of the new rules may well take time to percolate down to the health desks at airports and land borders.