Yellow fever certificate for entering Zanzibar
Replies: 28 - Last Post: Dec 9, 2012 10:53 AM Last Post By: RudiK
Sep 27, 2012 3:55 AM
Yellow fever certificate for entering ZanzibarI have read a lot fo conflicting information on whether you need a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Zanzibar. Can anyone who has been there recently confirm whether the certificate is required and what happens if you don't have it? I've already been to my GP and they also didn't know. Our flight is London-Cairo-Dar es Salaam-Zanzibar with relatively short transit times on the way out and I haven't travelled to any other country with yellow fever risk.
Sep 27, 2012 4:04 AM
Sep 27, 2012 4:08 AM
2Thanks for the advice!
I already have a pescription for ant-malarials. At my GPs they told me there is a low risk of yellow fever in Zanzibar. They were consulting the NHS advice for this:
" There is a very low risk of yellow fever and whilst vaccination is generally not advised it might be considered for a small subset of travellers (eg. prolonged travel, extensive exposure to mosquitoes and inability to avoid bites)."
Sep 27, 2012 4:11 AM
3Good luck getting a definitive answer to this- as far as I can gather it depends on the mood of the officials on the day.
As for consequences, I know some places (eg Dar, Nairobi) they can vaccinate you on arrival (for a charge of something like $50) but Zanzibar's a small airport so if you're caught without a certificate, my guess is you'd be detained until they can get someone there to vaccinate you.
Sep 27, 2012 6:33 AM
4Yes, the risk is low in most of East Africa. The heightened alert is mostly policy-driven. They are cracking down in Kenya as well.
Sep 27, 2012 9:07 AM
5Yellow fever certificate is not required by UK citizens who have come straight from the UK unless you stop for more than 12 hours (I think) in a 'yellow fever' country.
However a lot of immigration officers don't know that the law has been changed and I was nearly thrown off a bus in the middle of nowhere between Mwanza and Kigoma this year until I unpacked my bag and found my certificate which I only had because of previous trips when it was necessary.
I have been going to Tz (and Zanzibar) for 5 years and never been asked for it before.
Save yourself a lot of hassle and get a jab before you go, sods law means they'll ask for it if you haven't got it and won't ask to see it if you have it!!!!
I wrote to the Tz Embassy when I got home and complained but got no response from them.
Enjoy your trip, I love the place!
Sep 27, 2012 9:11 AM
6I got asked for my YF certificate at the both the Kilimanjaro airport (beginning of August, flying in Ottawa-Washington DC-Addis Ababa) and at the Dar airport (at the end of August, flying Kigali-Dar). They were checking everyone. I then flew Dar-Zanzibar and didn't get asked, but there was a lot of confusion because the Precision Air flight (the one I was on) landed right after the Air Italia flight, and we were husseled in to get our bags before we got stuck behind the massive number of Italians.
Anyway, if you're getting off the plane in Dar, I'd suggest getting the shot.
Sep 27, 2012 11:56 AM
7When I came to Zanzibar by ferry they checked my yellow fever card (november last year), and also when flying into Zanzibar from Addis ababa (march this year).
Sep 27, 2012 1:24 PM
8My advice is that if you do not have a valid YF vaccination certificate you do run a very big risk of not being allowed on to Zanzibar. Whilst it is part of the United Republic of Tanzania on health issues the Island Government is a separate administration. For the past two/three years they have been significantly more aggressive in checking new arrivals - in principal those who arrive from a designated YF country/region. This includes those who transit Nairobi and even Dar es Salaam airports. The information available during my most recent period in Tanzania (July 2012) was that non-residents would not be allowed in to Zanzibar without the necessary paper work. Whilst its more than 20 years since a YF case was reported in Tanzania east of Lake Victoria it is still recommended that anyone travelling to a Yellow Fever designated country be vaccinated unless there are compelling medical grounds for not doing so (ie you are allergic to the vaccine or are pregnant, or similar).
As for discussing the issue with your family GP - well I suggest you contact the UK Ministry of Public Health - the people who will provide your vaccination and the necessary certificate. YF has a "10 day" effectiveness requirement - in other words you have to be vaccinated at least 10 days before your arrival to be covered.
Sep 28, 2012 3:38 AM
Sep 29, 2012 12:17 PM
10I was there 3 times in the past 12 months. Twice they asked me, once not (but then in Dar es Salaam). Better get it to avoid hassle.
Oct 8, 2012 11:00 AM
Dec 7, 2012 11:38 AM
127stern- were you coming in on a flight that had stopped in a high risk area? Even if just a change of planes or something? We will be coming direct from Amsterdam-
Dec 7, 2012 1:04 PM
13Waldos - when you say you are on a flight coming in "direct" from Amsterdam- is that really direct (ie non-stop). If not what are your intermdeiate landing points? If one of them is Nairobi; or Addis; or Dar es Salaam and you are able (or required) to get out of the plane then it is likely that local authorities in Zanzibar will require you to produce a valid YF certificate. I have yet to determine what happens if you do not have the certificate in your case, but I know that if you arrive via the ferry from Dar you are sent back if you decline to have the vaccination. BTW I was in Zanzibar last year and mainland Tanzania this year and the vaccinations were still being enforced. Hope this helps.
Dec 7, 2012 1:50 PM
14Direct Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro- no stops. I know that the regs say not needed but I guess YF is one of the big battle grounds for traveling to Tanzania. I just got into a small skirmish on another board about it. I find it hard to imagine that Tanzania is going to send back a group of tourists who really aren't required to have the shots.
I am not against vacinations at all when needed. Or if even sort of needed. But when totally unnecessary AND the shots are live virus, I see no reason to get it. In fact, our health department refuses and the makers of the vacine say it is not for us old folks over age 60. On the other hand, if the health officials at Kili airport are going to make their own rules- difficult. I don't want to be sent back, and getting the shot there means the possblity of side effects ruining our vacation.
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