Tanzania Travel Immunisation

-What you should know about vaccination entry requirements-

Before you’re allowed to enter most African countries you must have a valid International Vaccination Card as proof that you’re not the carrier of some new and exotic plague. The essential vaccinations are yellow fever (valid for 10 years) and cholera (valid for six months). While it is generally agreed that cholera vaccinations are not considered in many African countries (including Tanzania).

In addition, you’re strongly advised to be vaccinated against typhoid (valid for three years), tetanus (valid for 10 years), tuberculosis (valid for life) and polio (valid for 10 years). Gamma globulin shots are also available for protection against infectious hepatitis (type A) but they are ineffective against serum hepatitis (type B). Protection lasts three to six months. There is also a vaccine for type A which provides 100% protection for 12 months (a course of two injections) or for 10 years (with a third, booster, injection), though it is quite expensive.

There is a vaccine available for type B but it’s only recommended for individuals at high risk. It’s also expensive, and the series of three injections take six months to complete. You need to plan ahead for these vaccinations, as they cannot all be given at once and typhoid requires a second injection about two or three weeks after the first. Cholera and typhoid jabs usually leave you with a stiff and sore arm for two days afterwards.

The other injections generally don’t have any effect. If your vaccination card expires whilst you’re away, there are a number of medical centres in Tanzania where you can have booster vaccinations. There’s usually a small fee for these but sometimes they are free. Avoid turning up at borders with expired vaccination cards, as officials may insist on your having the relevant injection before they will let you in. Your local physician can arrange a course of injections for you, or in most large cities there are vaccination centres.

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