Shots! When Travel Immunizations Are Necessary


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I’m going to South America and Africa next month. In order to avoid another visa disaster (China 72-hour Visa-Free Transit Disaster (again)), I went with the experts at VisaHQ for my visas for Bolivia, Tanzania, and Kenya. Besides making sure I have the right papers, I also made sure that I am up to date on my vaccinations. Last time I went to Seychelles, I was a bit anxious  when the flight attendant announced that proof of yellow fever immunization is required to enter. As it turned out, it was only required for those coming from countries within Africa.

For this trip, proof of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter Bolivia, a high risk place for yellow fever. In turn, it is also required for entering Tanzania. Specifically, per the CDC’s website, “The government of Tanzania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (this does not include the US – see complete list: Countries with risk of yellow fever virus (YFV) transmission.)”

Since I want to see the Salt Flats and since I don’t want to spend another night in deportation limbo, I called the CDC to find a center and schedule an immunization appointment. To my surprise, I found out that there is a shortage of yellow fever shots available in the US. The price quoted reflected the shortage. In New York, a yellow fever shot costs $350. In Montana, the price was still steep but a better deal at $183.

Because I was already turning to the needle, I also decided to get a typhoid shot which was $104. The CDC’s website states that you can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Tanzania. Specifically, the CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater. Based on the food I dared to sample in Morocco, I would call myself an adventurous eater. And after the experience in Sharm El Sheikh, the last thing I want is another bout of food poisoning.

I decided to pass on the rabies shot and am staying away from the malaria pills. Cholera doesn’t sound like a good time but I won’t be in affected areas.

These aren’t the shots that TPOL is used to taking, but my typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations are more useful than a shot of Patron at last call.

Shots! Stay healthy mis amigos.


  1. Hep A vaccine is a good one to get too for going out of country if you don’t already have it done. I think most insurance covers it as a regular prevenitive vaccine since i didn’t get billed for it.

    Also, the typhoid pill vaccine last 5 years (live virus) vs the shot only only lasting two years. Didn’t find that out until after getting the shot, so next time i’ll get the pill.

    I’m heading to Bolivia as well, and after almost being attacked by a stray dog in Argentina last time I was in south america, I decided to get rabies vaccines as well. Unfortunately they are $350 a shot, and you need three of them. Its still better than dying a slow painful death if I’m bitten and somewhere remote.

    • Lol lol slow painful death is right. I opted for shot bc it was convenient. She did offer the pill. Now I have to add typhoid re up next to my annual fee due dates.

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