Travel Immunizations for Colombia

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travel vaccination information
Travel vaccination information
Travel vaccination information (photo: by David Lee)

The little yellow book shows me everything.

Before my September move to Medellín, Colombia, I did my research on the suggested travel vaccinations someone should get — and the proof I have gotten them is in a little book I carry with me when I travel. I was happy that it was easy to find advice on helpful, and potentially life-saving, precautions.

I can’t speak to countries other than Colombia, so let me share my experience.

After doing my research, I went to The George Washington University student health center. I was attending the university at the time and was on a school health plan.

Not that it meant free vaccinations. Travel vaccinations are not free. And they are expensive.

Greeeeaaaattt, I thought to myself. Needles make me shiver as it is, and I was about to be punctured like a pin cushion, all at a pretty hefty expense that would probably make me feel worse than actually getting the shots.

The doctor recommended shots to protect against Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever and Malaria.

For Hepatitis A and B, I could take a shot with the vaccine for both. Still, it would be three shots, each at least $100. I’ve taken two. I’ll take the last one the next time I’m in the States.

My Typhoid shot was $60. My Yellow Fever shot, which I got at a clinic in Florida, was $135. At least the Malaria pills are not too expensive. About $30 will cover two months worth of them.

[Editor’s Note: Due to the altitude, Malaria is not present in Medellin.]

Maybe the toughest thing is scheduling, though. Going to a clinic can be time-consuming. You have to make the appointment, fight through traffic to get there and then talk to a doctor.

I had the time so I did it that way. Each time, the doctor wrote in my little yellow book what vaccine I had just gotten, the date, then signed it.

DO NOT lose that little book. It can be as important as your passport to get into certain countries. I’m going to Argentina in May and I’m pretty sure I need it for that trip.

I’m not even solely relying on the yellow book. I have kept all my receipts and doctor’s notes from my visits and here’s why:

  • If I lose the yellow book, I have proof that I’ve gotten the vaccines.
  • Whenever you’re going anywhere with a bunch of pills, as I am with Malaria pills, it’s good to have as many documents as you can to prove what they are, in case customs gets suspicious.

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This post was written by Ryan, and brought to you by Lloyds Pharmacy.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Yellow fever vaccination is not a requirement for Colombia. The World Health Organization (WHO) does however recommend it for much of Colombia except for the most popular places like Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Medellín and Barranquilla. So if you are only traveling to these popular cities, generally not recommended by the WHO.

  2. What about children? I’ve been researching the vaccine schedule for schools in Medellin and can’t find anything! Or does anyone know what the baby/child vax schedule looks like? Does everyone vax? Is there any religious exemption there?

  3. If you’re already in Medellín without having had vaccinations and intend to travel around Colombia, as stated above yellow fever is recommended by WHO for various parts of the country.
    I went to Clinica Medellín in Centro for my fiebre amarilla vacunación just a few days ago. No wait time, no appointment, friendly and competent staff.
    I paid 58mil pesos at level 5 at the north side of the building.
    “JK Vacunamos s.a.s.”
    Open M-F 7-5, Saturday’s 8-12

    • I’m moving to Medellin next week and am planning on taking a little side trip into the Amazon region of Iquitos, Peru. They say I need Hep. A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever & Malaria but the travel clinic here in Miami wants to charge me an arm & a leg for this stuff. Would it be a good idea to wait until I get to Medellin, and get all of those vaccinations there?