Yellow fever vaccination requirement

By Bhagavatula Ramakrishna posted 01 December 2016 10:21


Dear Members, 

A 76 year old couple with no major medical history are going on a trip to Africa. They fly from Miami ,Florida to Barcelona, Spain to spend a few days with their  family. Then they fly to Nairobi, Kenya to change planes for a flight to  Cape Town , SA. From South Africa they will go on a train to Tanzania and continue on a safari trip . This trip also includes a visit to the Victoria Falls.

It seems to me that this travel should not require a YF vaccine for this older couple. However, I'm worried that they may run into a problem with authorities  in SA or Tanzania because of the transit through Nairobi. They may not have much problem in SA but I'm concerned about Tanzanian health policy and practice ( recent posts on this site have discussed some inconsistency ). I understand that South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania do not require Yellow fever vaccination if traveling from the USA or Spain. This is an unusual situation as most my patients go straight to  SA  and then on to Tanzania and none of them had any issues with health authorities.

Should I give a certificate of waiver for YF?  or....

I will appreciate any comments or suggestions .


B. Ramakrishna.

1 comment



12 December 2017 20:03

From my reading of the regulations, South Africa would require proof of vaccination if the travellers had spent over 12 hours in transit in the airport in Nairobi. If the transit is less than that they "should" be ok with a waiver. However, they may encounter a South African border police official who reads the rules differently. Or they may belayed in Nairobi and hence spend more than 12 hours in the airport. This possibility must be explained to them. Most of my travellers prefer to avoid such potential complications by taking the vaccine if there is any doubt. The vaccine is safe enough to take that course of action, even in 76 year olds who are otherwise healthy.
Dr James Broadbent, New Zealand.