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Why go to a Travel Medicine Clinic?

Travel health clinics were born after primary care offices and state-run clinics decided they did not want to deal with yellow fever and less common vaccinations. Most travel vaccinations have to be ordered in a quantity of 5-20 at a time, so holding inventory of a rare vaccine does not make sense for many family medicine practices.

Without a way to get yellow fever vaccines before a trip to South America or Africa, travelers ran into a dilemma. Yellow fever vaccines can only be administered by certified yellow fever vaccination centers.

This means staff complete training on yellow fever, and the facility fills out paperwork each year to maintain compliance with their state's yellow fever vaccination department. Travel health clinics help bridge the gap between what your primary care provider can provide and what you need to stay healthy on your trips.

Travel vaccine clinics usually offer yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, japanese encephalitis, and other unique immunizations. They can also provide a tetanus booster and regular vaccines if needed. Yellow fever vaccination medical waivers can also be completed for travelers with immune system problems and advanced age.

Primary care providers don’t want to order a large quantity of vaccine that so few of their patients regularly use. The extra vaccines may expire before any of their other patients decide to travel out of the country. These vaccines usually aren't returnable to the manufacturer. They are also not covered by insurance in most cases, so primary care providers would have to risk not being reimbursed for these services.

Many primary care providers do not counsel patients on travel medicine on a regular basis. They cannot spend hours researching the correct vaccines and medications needed, so they refer to a travel clinic better suited to aid their patients. Primary care practices also don't routinely receive updates on travel medicine, so they are more likely to prescribe old-school medications like mefloquine (malaria medication remembered for giving people crazy nightmares) when there are now better alternatives.

The yellow fever immunization cannot be taken within a month of another live virus vaccine such as chickenpox or MMR. You also cannot donate blood after receiving the yellow fever vaccine for a period of time. You will receive more information about this on the CDC's Vaccine Information Sheet, supplied to you prior to vaccination.

Travel vaccine clinics follow CDC guidelines on recommended vaccinations. The CDC Travelers Health pages list vaccines recommended by country. Depending on that country’s current outbreaks, they may recommend boosters of vaccines you received as a child. An adult polio booster is recommended for many places in Africa.

Many cruise lines going to Africa require yellow fever certificates. Carnival cruise vaccine guidelines depend on the length of the cruise. Holland America, Regent, and Norwegian are all cruise lines that offer cruises to Africa.

An International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis is required for yellow fever. This yellow card is good for life and is no longer subject to 10 year expiration dates. Travelers can use their "expired" certificate without a problem, and there is no need to get the card re-written to show it is not expired.

Travel medicine clinics can also look up your immunization record in the state that the clinic is located. If you received vaccines in that state, they are usually reported to a state immunization registry. Most states mandate this for at least minors, but adults are sometimes included.

Travel immunization clinics are the best way to prepare for international travels. Countless travelers become ill abroad and have to seek medical attention in foreign countries where they don’t know the language. Simple preventative measures can save you thousands in medical bills, hours of stress, and give you peace of mind that you are protected.

Make an appointment at any of the Arizona Away Clinic locations to get information and vaccinations related to your destinations! Get protected and safe travels!


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