Six Vaccines You May Require When Travelling to East Africa in 2022

By TripleFPhotoTours | Feb 12, 2022
Africa

When you think of travelling to East Africa, the first things that may spring to mind are wild animals, beautiful scenery and friendly locals. But did you know there are also some serious health risks travellers face in this part of the world? While serious illnesses such as malaria and yellow fever are not common, it's still important to take precautions and receive certain vaccinations before visiting East Africa. Here's an overview of the most common vaccines travellers to East Africa should consider receiving before departure.
All the talk is currently around the COVID-19 vaccines, which is required when travelling to East Africa. However, for this article, I will focus on the other recommended vaccines when visiting East Africa. For up-to-date information about the COVID requirements, check either the Uganda and/or Tanzania travel alerts.

Which countries are in East Africa?


East Africa is comprised of Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC. This article will focus on the two countries: Uganda and Tanzania. If you are travelling elsewhere in East Africa, you can check the CDC website for up-to-date information.

Yellow Fever Vaccine


Travellers visiting Uganda or Tanzania require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry, with a valid certification. The yellow fever vaccine, just like the covid vaccine, is a live vaccine, which means your body needs time to adjust.
Yellow fever is a life-threatening disease caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. It can be prevented with the vaccine administered at least ten days before travel. The live attenuated vaccine is required to enter certain countries in East Africa, including Uganda and Tanzania. It is highly effective (97%), and once you have it, you don't need it again.
However, it does come with side effects, like headaches and muscle aches, which are mild and typically go away within 24 hours of taking it.

Note:

Without the yellow fever certificate, you will be denied entry to Uganda and Tanzania. Only a travel clinic can administer the yellow fever vaccine due to refrigeration requirements.

Hepatitis A Vaccine


The Hepatitis A virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and although rare, outbreaks can occur. If you're travelling to Uganda or Tanzania in 2022, you may require vaccination for hepatitis A. The two countries have had reported cases of hepatitis A since 2010. Hepatitis A can cause mild symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, and loss of appetite. It can also lead to more severe complications like liver damage or even death if left untreated. If you are travelling outside urban areas of East Africa or visiting friends or relatives while abroad, then you should talk with your healthcare provider about vaccinations tailored to your needs.
Unfortunately, I got sick on our last trip after eating an unwashed mango. It led to two hospital visits. I had a few months of lasting effects, and even though I had the vaccine, I still got sick. Had I not had the vaccine at all, it would and could have been much worse. I would highly recommend getting the vaccine as it is less harmful than if you take ill while abroad in East Africa.

Typhoid Vaccine


You may need a typhoid vaccine if you're travelling to East Africa. Also known as enteric fever, typhoid is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Typhi bacteria. Fortunately, it can be prevented through vaccination and treatment with antibiotics. Some regions of east Africa have high rates of typhoid, so much so that if you're travelling there during the summer months, it's recommended that you get a shot beforehand.

Meningitis Vaccine


Meningitis is a life-threatening infection of the membranes surrounding your brain and spinal cord. It's a preventable disease caused by bacterial, viral or fungal germs. According to WHO data, in 2010, over 170,000 people worldwide died from meningitis. Most of these deaths were children under five years old. If you're planning a trip anywhere in East Africa and are at least 16 years old, you may need both meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) and meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4). Speak to your doctor about the correct dose for you.

Malaria Pills


Malaria is found throughout East Africa and is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It can be prevented using a series of pills that act as an antimalarial—typically taken weekly. (Uganda's rate of malaria fell from 37 percent to 11 percent after antimalarial medications were introduced.)
A typical preventative dose when travelling to countries including Uganda and Tanzania is Chloroquine pills. They are taken every day a week before departure, throughout the trip and one week after returning home.

Polio Vaccine


While there hasn't been a case of polio in Uganda since 2009, it's still endemic in neighbouring Tanzania and Kenya. Because of regional travel, you must get your polio vaccine before travelling. If you plan to spend more than four weeks outside of North America and Western Europe, you should consult with your doctor or a travel health clinic regarding whether or not you should be vaccinated against polio. Getting an additional booster dose while travelling may also be recommended (but is not required).

Did you know that Rotary International has done an amazing job of eradicating polio in the developing world?

Note:

Please get your polio vaccination at least six weeks before departure for first-time travellers only to Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Vaccination Health Africa

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Written by TripleFPhotoTours
Hi, my name is Amina and I operate a photo tour company called Triple F Photo Tours. I believe in introducing our travellers to off-the-beaten-path places that no other photo tourism company offers along with the top-rated tourism sites that every traveller wants to see in the specific destinations we visit. I am also a big believer in immersing our travellers into the local culture and at the same time supporting the local economy of the countries we visit as many of them were adversely affected by COVID. We also are affiliated with a sister Canadian charity, called Cameras For Girls, which teaches photography and business skills to marg... Read more

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