Travel to certain countries in tropical or subtropical areas where the risk of illness can be high requires adequate planning in a timely manner to adopt mandatory or recommended prophylactic measures, that, in many cases, go through the administration of some type of vaccine. If you are also pending vaccination against Covid-19, it should be noted that It is necessary to allow seven days between the administration of any vaccine and the immunization against SARS-CoV-2.
Although in the case of those known as traveler’s vaccinations, including those of the yellow fever, the meningitis meningococcal the the typhoid fever, To name just a few, they can be administered in a single medical visit, as long as they are inoculated in different anatomical areas, as they are well-known vaccines and with long experience in their management. In the case of the vaccine against covid, for the moment, it has been established that it should not be administered if they have not passed at least seven days from the last immunization received and seven days must also be allowed from the receipt of the immunization against SARS-CoV-2 until receiving any other vaccine, according to the information provided by the Ministry of Health.
Monitoring of adverse effects
The reason is that vaccines against Covid are very recent and this separation period allows, for example, to make a clearer monitoring of the possible adverse effects that may occur, as highlighted Raisa Morales, from the Drassanes Tropical Medicine and International Health Unit of the Hebron Valley Hospital.
The Ministry of Health explains that the concomitant use with other vaccines has not been studied, although it clarifies that “interference with inactivated vaccines is not expected.” However, with separation in an interval of seven days with other vaccines “The coincidence of possible adverse effects that can be erroneously attributed to this vaccine” will be avoided.
Planning 4-6 weeks in advance
It’s recommended that Any traveler who intends to visit a low-income country with a high prevalence of infectious diseases should go to a center specialized in Travel Medicine well in advance, in particular, it is recommended between 4 and 6 weeks before the trip, and even earlier if the stay is to be of long duration. This year it is also necessary to take into account the circumstances derived from the Covid-19 pandemic and the aforementioned necessary time of separation between vaccines. “This advance notice is essential to administer a correct vaccination schedule, ensuring adequate protection for the trip,” says Raisa Morales.
As regards vaccination in general, when traveling to certain countries it is necessary to know that there are compulsory vaccinations, subject to international regulations, which means that their administration may be required by the local authorities of the country and demonstrated through a International Certificate of Vaccination. These types of vaccines are administered in International Vaccination Centers authorized and approved by the World Health Organization, where said certificate is provided.
One of these vaccines is the one that protects against yellow fever, a viral disease of mandatory international declaration and that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.
The yellow fever vaccine is recommended for all travelers to infected areas of Africa and South America. The vaccination certificate can be required not only in areas where the disease is endemic, “many non-endemic countries may require it if the traveler comes from an area that is, as in the case of a trip from Colombia -endemic country- to Costa Rica, which is not. “We are talking about an endemic disease in tropical South America (Colombia, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil) and in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Malawi ”, indicates Raisa Morales.
The case of Tanzania
The case of Tanzania is striking, a country that has managed to control the disease and where, in general, the vaccine is no longer necessary as an entry requirement unless it comes from an endemic area.
From general symptoms to death in a few days
Yellow fever is a disease that it initially presents with very general symptoms What fever, headache, general malaise and a characteristic yellowing of the skin, to which it owes its name, but also can lead to serious complications and even death within a few days, warns Morales
Another vaccine that may be mandatory is that of meningococcal meningitis, demanded by Saudi Arabia to all the pilgrims who visit Mecca and Medina, even when applying for a visa, “due to the crowds of people of very different nationalities and the outbreaks that have occurred in this area on several occasions,” says this expert .
Meningococcal meningitis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria neisseria meningitidis of which sporadic cases occur worldwide and whose vaccination It is also recommended if you travel to countries in the sub-Saharan belt during transmission time and areas of other countries with epidemic outbreaks.
Another vaccine that may be required in some countries is that of the poliomyelitis, disease in advanced stage of eradication, currently endemic in its wild form only in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but with sporadic cases derived from oral vaccination in some countries in Africa and Asia. Hence, the Polio Committee of the World Health Organization considers that this disease continues to be a Public Health emergency of international scope and recommends vaccination in travelers staying four weeks or more in risk areas or “that some countries require the vaccine for travelers from endemic areas,” explains Dr. Morales.
Duration of immunity
The duration of protection conferred by all these vaccines is not the same. Yellow fever confer immunity for more than 20 years and even for life of the person vaccinated with a single dose. In the case of Hepatitis A a first dose and a second between 6 and 12 months later. For the hepatitis B you need a second dose a month after the first dose and a booster dose at 6 months. Vaccines against hepatitis fall within those recommended, the same case of typhoid fever, the Rage or the tetanus, among other.
Transmission through contaminated food and water
Those that are usually administered more frequently are those that prevent the most common diseases in travelers, which are those transmitted through contaminated water and food, such as hepatitis A and typhoid fever, Raisa Morales explains.
Hepatitis A is an infectious disease, with a worldwide distribution appearing in the form of periodic epidemics, which it is transmitted from person to person and by the ingestion of contaminated food and drink, and it is more frequent in countries with poor sanitary conditions and the safety of drinking water is not well controlled.
Hepatitis B It is also an infectious disease of universal distribution, transmitted in this case mainly by sexual way, blood transfusions, products with contaminated blood or contaminated material, in addition to the transmission from mother to son.
The case of malaria
Another important disease to take into account in many tourist destinations is malaria for which Today there is no vaccine but there are good preventive treatments, which must be administered before, during and after the trip.
It is also necessary to take into account when traveling to certain countries a group of diseases transmitted by mosquito bites such as dengue, the Zika or the chikungunya, which can pose a significant risk in certain geographical areas.
The traveler is the main responsible for preserving their health and for this, planning and common sense are fundamental elements to make the trip a safe experience, concludes Morales.