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Immunizations for Central America

Sarah K

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  • Added on: August 1st, 2006
I don't have health insurance at the moment and I'm wondering what immunizations are important to get when traveling through Central America (Mexico to Panama) and South America (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia). I don't mind spending the money on my health, but I don't want to invest in something that I don't need. Also, how much can I expect to pay for immunizations?


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Joined: March 22nd, 2006

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  • Added on: August 2nd, 2006

The only immunisation you need to take is Yellow fever, in most of the South American countries you are obliged to have it. The rest is no must, bring Malarone for malaria, better curative than preventive, prevent getting malaria by using DEET insect repellents after dawn and use an impregnated mosquito net. Oh ... and do take some anti diarrea stuff and a broad spectrum antibiotic.
And if you are planning to have some other fun, you might consider a vaccination for Hepatitis...

Have fun
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Sarah K

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Posts: 10
Joined: May 3rd, 2006

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  • Added on: August 3rd, 2006


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Extra Pages in Passport
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Joined: January 21st, 2004

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  • Added on: August 3rd, 2006
I believe Yellow Fever is a requirement for Peru and Bolivia (especially crossing borders, but I was never checked). Other vaccines are not required but recommended. And I highly recommend them as well. Best to not get sick if it can be prevented.

My suggested list is:
Hep A & B
Yellow Fever
Marlaria prophilaxis (make sure to check what works in CA and what works in SA because you may need different medications for different regions).

As for not having insurance, that's not a big deal. Go to a local travel clinic and they will set you up. They will also have more information on specifics to the countries you're going to. And they're generally cheaper than regular physicians becase regular doctors have to 'order the special shots' and stuff like that...

Here are links to some in the SF area:
- Passport Health of SF
- Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic
- There's even a travel clinic at SFO!


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Holds PhD in Packing
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Joined: May 29th, 2006
Location: London

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  • Added on: August 5th, 2006
When I was living in Mexico I never had any shots done, neither my roommate.
I'm ok but she got sick seriously and lost 15 kilos in 4 months. When she came back to Europe she started treatment in tropical disease clinic and apparently it was from unwashed vegetables. She will have stomach problems for the rest of her life. Don't ask me what kind of disease was that be cause I don't remember.
The good thing is if shit happens in coentral and south america you can buy everything in the pharmacy without prescription.

Sarah K

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  • Added on: August 12th, 2006
Oooh. Scary. Well, I'll be sure to get my shots. I've actually gotten a few of them already. I'm still deciding about Hep B and Rabies. I'm not planning on having any 'below-the-belt' fun with people other than my travel companion while I'm traveling -- So, I'm not sure I need to get it.

And as for Rabies -- it's just SO expensive... we shall see...

Thanks for the advice,

due south

Haci Richard

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  • Added on: September 17th, 2006
I'm heading to Nicaragua and was wondering about the same things. My mother, a travel addict and an infection control nurse for the VA told me that for a short trip you really didn't need any shots but should take along the standard diarrhea and first aid stuff. There is more country specific info on the CDC Website
"Suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either."


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Holds PhD in Packing
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  • Added on: September 21st, 2006
I'm likely going to Nicaragua, Gautemala, and Honduras from Jan-April.

Think I'll get Hep A & B, Tetanus, and Yellow Fever immunizations.

Should I take something for Malaria, or just rely on DEET and a net at night?


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  • Added on: October 31st, 2006
hey, i've been living in latin america for the past six years and li'll tell you this, you don't need any vaccine, i stupidly took malaria pills for eight months and had to get my gall bladder removed becuase that's how they affect you and on the downside of that, once you take one form of malaria pills it is useless once you actually do get malaria. there's over 800 different strains of malaria and the pills only prevent one, however if you don't take any they can help fight it.
yellow fever is given for free in airports and bus terminals of the places that require it, so don't waste your money. save it for the traveling.
Family Living and Traveling...Unconventionally!


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  • Added on: November 9th, 2007
I travel every year to Central America and sometimes to Africa. I lived in South America. This March, I will take my companion to Tikal in Guatemala. She will need immunizations for Typhoid, Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B for her first visit to Central America. But there is now a possibility that her fourteen year old daughter may accompany us. For philosophical reasons, the daughter has never received immunizations of any kind in her life. Clearly she should have the polio vaccine, in addition to the Typhoid, Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B. I would be most grateful if someone, perhaps a medical professional familiar with tropical medicine, could tell me what other immunizations she should have? Thank you.


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Lost in Place
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Joined: May 17th, 2005

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  • Added on: November 15th, 2007
Originally posted by Sarah K:

And as for Rabies -- it's just SO expensive... we shall see...

due south

You won't need a rabies vaccine unless you get bitten. You can always take it after the bite. Save your money. I have to imagine that South/Central America is similar to India in that you should be able to get the rabies vaccine over the counter at any pharmacy should the occasion or necessity arise. Can anyone well versed in Central american travel confirm this?

I was bitten by a kitten in India and just bought the vaccine at a pharmacy and administered it myself. It's very simple.

You should search the health section of these message boards for more info.

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