The Sharp End of a Needle

This post is in no way intended to be an expert medical opinion or advice. Please refer to your nearest medical professional and/or travel clinic for up to date advice and recommendations. (See end of post for details of the Travel Clinics I visited)

Checking whether your vaccinations are up to date is the nightmare of some with visions of rows of syringes and needles awaiting them, never mind the hole being jabbed into your hard saved trip funds! Today, as every time I go (last time was 2011), the number of lined up syringes and needles get less and less. The price has surprisingly not gone through the roof although admittedly the hole in your funds is still equivalent to what it would’ve been 10 years ago.

Inside holder information and Yellow Fever vaccination details

Writing this here now, my left arm is not liking being moved much after 2 jabs. “Only two!?” you say. What happened to the regular updates and boosters that did at times require returning for more the next day and/or having two arms punctured; admittedly the worst is prior to the first time you travel abroad. Then, it just depends on where you going and when the various shots expire or require the next booster.

My two jabs actually covered 6 shots including boosters and updates. My hepatitis A was due to expire in 2015 and my meningitis and typhoid shots expired June 2014, my Tetanus shot had expired 2013. Already in 2011, the vaccine for 4 meningitis strains had been combined into one shot. Seeing as I’m heading off to South America, the meningitis shot is not required with the high risk area only being roughly the equatorial belt through Africa.

Inside pages noting other vaccinations.

Today my tetanus shot (this is probably the jab I dislike the most due to level of pain you have to deal with later the day; only Voltaren competes with this) included boosters for polio, whooping cough and diphtheria. My required typhoid jab included the Hepatitis A update thus resulting in only two jabs. The other “update” was the “Cholera Exempt” stamp, dated and signed by the nurse; this signified that she had shared the relevant education, tips and advice on avoiding cholera contamination with me.

The bill for the actual jabs took my breath away but then realised that considering how many vaccines and boosters were included, this was not much different to what I’d paid in the past. In fact, it was probably cheaper than before!

I’d be telling a lie if I say I find my visits to Travel Clinics boring, on the contrary, it’s always been very informative and down right interesting. (Thanks again Sarie at Kampus Travel Clinic!) These professionals are up to date with the latest advances in travel health, medicine and the relevant legislation. Granted I’ve only been to 3 different ones in the space of 14 years (two part of the same group). Today was no exception and the nurse told me about a couple of new and future changes in requirements relating to Yellow Fever vaccines. 

The new Yellow Fever Certificate as required
by World Health Organisation (WHO).

Yellow Fever

Apparently the latest research has shown that the Yellow Fever vaccine is good for life, thus the 10 year repeat jab will not be required anymore. Note: this has not been incorporated into legislation yet (or is in progress) and for now the 10 year update is still required by most countries. (as published by the World Health Organisation in International Travel and Health)

Yellow Fever & Vaccine card

The “old” yellow card that folds open is apparently also not valid anymore. The medical professional at your travel clinic can transfer your current vaccines and jabs onto the new yellow booklet as per the International Health Regulations (2005). Oh and by the way; NOTE that any corrections and/or alterations on and in the booklet renders it null and void! So if you’re going through passports pretty rapidly, rather leave that space open on the front cover.

Travel clinics I recommend

United Kingdom
Nomad Travel  8 Travel Clinics throughout the UK. I’ve been to two in London. There service and advice was just brilliant, and consistently so!

South Africa
Kampus Travel Clinic (incorporated into Kampus Pharmacy) Situated at Cachet Park near the North West University in Potchefstroom, North West Province.

  • Any inaccuracies that may be present relating to WHO requirements, vaccine contents etc are purely my own because of a crap memory and/or my layman’s language and understanding.
  • I did not receive any benefit in any form from the named travel clinics and/or institutions and my recommendations are based on the superior service and advice I received during telephonic and one-on-one consultations.


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