Travel Safe News

by Kristin Cain RN, BScN, MSN Kristin Cain RN, BScN, MSN No Comments

Is the Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage Really ‘Bugging’ You?

Travelling to Africa or South America? You may be at risk for Yellow Fever.

Is the Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage Really 'Bugging' You?If you are travelling to Africa or South America, you may be at risk for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially serious and life threatening disease caused by a virus spread by an infected mosquito. The best way to prevent yellow fever is to get vaccinated!

There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. A return to normal supply is only expected in late 2018. When travelling to an area with yellow fever risk, especially to areas experiencing an outbreak, the best option is to receive a full dose of the vaccine or to postpone travel.

When this is not possible, the Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended the use of a fractional dose of yellow fever vaccine. Based on existing evidence the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that a fifth of the standard vaccine dose (0.1mL instead of 0.5mL) will provide protection against yellow fever for at least 12 months.

The WHO states that a fractional dose does not qualify for a yellow fever certificate. Therefore, when receiving a fractional dose travellers are provided with a waiver which is valid for 12 months beginning 10 days after vaccination. An explanation that the traveller received a fractional dose due to a severe vaccine shortage is written on the waiver. This waiver should satisfy border entry requirements.


What should you do if you are travelling to Africa or South America?

Book your consultation at TravelSafe Clinic as soon as possible! We will review your itinerary, vaccine history, and medical history to determine if the yellow fever vaccine is recommended for you.

If you need the vaccine you will then need to book a separate appointment to return for a yellow fever fractional dosing clinic. You will be booked with a group of people at the same time to receive a fractional dose since the vaccine must be used within one hour once opening (so please arrive on time for your fractional dose!).

Depending on vaccine availability you will either return to TravelSafe Clinic for the fractional dose or be referred to another travel clinic for vaccination.


Is there any option to receive a full dose?

Due to the extreme vaccine shortage TravelSafe Clinic is only able to offer a fractional dose when the vaccine is in stock. You may be able to locate a full dose at other travel clinics in Vancouver that have a greater supply of the vaccine. There are also a number of yellow fever vaccination centres in major airports serving as transit points to Africa and South America.

This may be an option if you will not be at yellow fever risk or required to show the vaccine certificate for at least 10 days following vaccination and if you have no major medical issues. It may be possible to make a vaccine appointment if travelling through airports in Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Johannesburg, and Mexico City. We can review your options during your consultation at TravelSafe Clinic.


Yellow fever certificates now valid for life!

As of July 2016 yellow fever certificate validity changed from 10 years to life of the person vaccinated. Therefore a yellow fever booster is no longer needed if it has been longer than 10 years since previous vaccination. The lifetime validity automatically applies to all existing and new certificates, beginning 10 days after vaccination. So hang on to those old yellow fever certificates!

Is the Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage Really 'Bugging' You?

by TravelSafe Clinic TravelSafe Clinic No Comments

Always Practice Safe Sun

Always Practice Safe Sun

There are few things more glorious than a sun-soaked vacation. We Vancouverites spend a good 9 months of the year in less than tropical weather conditions, so we understand the desire to get out in the sun as much as humanly possible when on vacation.


Pasty Nation

Let’s be honest, Vancouverites can get a little pasty looking over the winter months, and getting out in the sunshine is an opportunity to achieve a healthy glow. And that “just got back from Hawaii” look shows really well on Instagram! #nofilter!

There are, indeed, lots of positive effects to that ball of fire in the sky. For one, it’s warm! But it also synthesises vitamin D3 in the body, and enhances our mood and kills pathogens. So, yay for the sun!


“Leathery” Only Looks Good on Handbags

So, yes, while being out in the sun can be a healthy and uplifting experience, it’s also paramount that you take the necessary precautions and protect yourself from the dangers of too much exposure! Overdoing your time in the sun can leave you looking like “Tan-Mom”–not someone you want to be likened to!

Crispy, leathery and wrinkled are not good adjectives to describe your complexion! No one wants to look like a lobster. So to avoid the “George Hamilton” look, and, more importantly, the health risks associated with the this perennially tanned look, we offer the following sun-safety tips!

Always Practice Safe Sun

Terrific Sun-Safety Tips

Despite the advantages to sun exposure, overexposure to UV radiation can also have adverse health effects, including sunburn, premature ageing, skin cancers, eye-diseases, and immune suppression.

The following tips will help you enjoy the sun, without the drawbacks negatively impacting your health!


Limit Your Time in the Sun

The most effective way you can avoid the dangers of sun exposure is to limit your time in the sun. The Government of Canada website recommends “keeping out of the sun and heat between 11am and 4pm.


Sun-Safety Hack!

When your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong. Look for places with lots of shade, like a park with big trees, partial roofs, awnings, umbrellas or gazebo tents. Always take an umbrella to the beach.”


Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen!

We can’t repeat this mantra enough. Your mother was right when she told you never to leave the house without sunscreen! However, it’s important to know which sunscreens are the best and how to use them properly. The following information from the Canadian Health section of the government website is very useful:

Always Practice Safe Sun

  • Choose a high SPF. Protect your health by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. The sunscreen should also say “broad-spectrum” on the label, to screen out most of the UVA and UVB rays.
  • Look for “water resistant”. Look for claims on the label that the product stays on better in water (water resistant, very water resistant).
  • Read application instructions. For best results, be sure to follow the instructions on the product label.
  • Use lots of sunscreen. Use the recommended amount of sunscreen.
  • Apply it early. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside; reapply 20 minutes after going outside and at least every 2 hours after that. Use a generous amount. Cover exposed areas generously, including ears, nose, the tops of feet and backs of knees.
  • Reapply often. Reapply sunscreen often to get the best possible protection especially if you are swimming or sweating heavily.
  • Protect yourself. Sunscreen and insect repellents can be used safely together. Apply the sunscreen first, then the insect repellent.
  • Sunscreens and babies. Do not put sunscreen on babies less than 6 months of age. Keep them out of the sun and heat as their skin and bodies are much more sensitive than an adult’s.
  • Test for an allergic reaction. Before using any tanning product on you or your child check for an allergic reaction, especially if you have sensitive skin. Apply it to a small patch of skin on the inner forearm for several days in a row. If the skin turns red or otherwise reacts, change products.

Sunglasses Aren’t Just for Looking Cool!

Wear sunglasses. If you choose them properly, sunglasses will protect your eyes against damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and visible light. You can look like a rock star and protect your eyes at the same time!


It’s a Cover Up!

When you’re not frolicking in the water, it’s best to wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat made from breathable fabric.

Before you travel, protect your health.

Travel Safely with TravelSafe Immunization Clinic