Africa without vaccinations - your experiences
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Nov 13, 2012 7:02 AM Last Post By: nutraxfornerves
Nov 11, 2012 8:16 AM
Nov 11, 2012 5:46 PM
16I've traveled and worked in Africa for 13 years now, 40 countries, staying and working mostly just in the capital cities. I made a personal choice to not be vaccinated for the standard vaccinations suggested/required for Africa, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A, Diphtheria and Thyphoid. I am a type 1 diabetic and have had adverse reactions to prescription medications in the past. I have had no health issues at all in Africa other than Kidney Stones resulting from not being poroperly hydrated.
I most often stay in the higher end hotels when working in cities like Kinshasa, Malabo or Port Harcourt, I take all the simple precautions for mosquitoes and sometimes use spray. I have eaten off the streets only a few times (Suya kebabs in Nigeria for example) and I try to make a point of washing my hands before eating.
For the Yellow Fever certificate requried for entry, I took somebody elses, photo copied it, whited-out and changed the name to mine, and then re-photocopied it. I have entered many counties without issue.
This is again a personal choice I've made and I am well aware of the risks that come with this.
Nov 12, 2012 2:37 AM
17I am appalled by #16: you are not only taking risks with your own health, but are putting others at risk. And remember that many of the Africans who may catch infections that you spread will not have access to the same quality of health care and salubrious environments that are available to you, so the consequences for them are likely to be a great deal more serious.
I think that this kind of behaviour ranks with the worst kind of colonial exploitation, and with the stories about drug companies testing new products on unsuspecting African villagers. All in all, I hope very much that you will get caught using a fake certificate; that your company will lose lots of money as a result; and that you will end up without a job. Preferably on the streets of Lagos.
NB diabetes is a serious condition, but is not a reason to avoid most vaccinations. Adverse reactions to some "prescription medicines" is a reason to be careful, not for avoiding all prescription medication and certainly not for avoiding vaccination. And "being careful" means finding a good physician and listening carefully to their advice.
Nov 12, 2012 5:10 AM
Nov 12, 2012 7:40 AM
19I have had no health issues at all in Africa
As far as I understand, vaccinations are typically given against diseases which are perhaps not so common but which can be fatal or difficult to cure. Having no health issues is a completely irrelevant statement. A good example is Yellow Fever: not very common but easily fatal. Now there is yellow fever in Sudan http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2272190
Many dangerous diseases were eradicated thanks to vaccinations. Therefore, vaccinations ARE NOT PERSONAL CHOICE.
I am also intrigued how non-vaccinated people cross borders when for instance YF vaccination is required. Do you also practice conscious bribing or what?
Nov 12, 2012 8:19 AM
20Fulana: the idiot in #16 explains how he forged his Yellow Fever certificate.
Just for the record: in at least one West African country they check YF certificates before you reach Immigration, but if you don't have one they can sell you one! I discovered this once when I came through having forgotten my certificate, but eventually they believed me when I explained that it was safe at home. Since I was travelling on a diplomatic passport I was probably treated with more respect than would have been given to the typical traveller in this situation.
Nov 12, 2012 8:46 AM
21I am also firmly in the pro-vaccine camp. However, the only comment I will make is that, since everyone's immune system is different, I'd be wary of relying on someone else's experience to predict whether or not I will have disease problems.
I have two practical suggestions.
See if you can get a formal yellow fever exemption. There is a section on the yellow International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis where a physician signs that you can't get the vaccine. The physical should also prepare a letter on official letterhead, and stamp it with the YF Centre stamp. I see you are in the UK. Most GPs are certified as YF Centres and can do the exemption for you.
You never know, in 6 months you may want to do a bit of traveling around, and might need the exemption.
Also, ask your doctor if you can be given immuneglobulin. This is not a vaccine. It is ready-made antibodies against certain diseases. If you can get it it will provide you some partial protection. You might also want to ask if you can take the oral typhoid vaccine.
Nov 12, 2012 10:18 AM
Nov 12, 2012 5:21 PM
Nov 13, 2012 2:06 AM
24amo21169, it's deeply appreciated that you share your experiences regards not vaccinating, particularly given your compromised immune system status. Thank you for posting. I'm currently experimenting with using high dose Bovine Colostrum to raise immunoglobulin levels, it will be interesting to see how this works.
Judging by the responses on this thread, it's sad to see 'medical science' reduced to a blind religiosity. From a cursory search here on Thorn Tree, it appears that the pro-vaccination mob will attack any & all threads on the topic of vaccination. It does makes me wonder ;)
Nov 13, 2012 3:30 AM
25+Judging by the responses on this thread, it's sad to see 'medical science' reduced to a blind religiosity. From a cursory search here on Thorn Tree, it appears that the pro-vaccination mob will attack any & all threads on the topic of vaccination. It does makes me wonder ;) +
I see no evidence of "blind religiosity". Rather, these discussions are very open-minded about genuine dilemmas. However, it is right that crackpot ideas are not tolerated when such ideas are not only demonstrably wrong but can cause real harm to others.
To recap: there are some people who should not be vaccinated because of their medical history (and I don't know whether being HIV positive is one such reason). People in this situation need to be extra careful about obtaining detailed medical advice, and can get a certificate of exemption as Nutrax has explained above. They should certainly NOT be forging documents and paying bribes (doing so invalidates their insurance apart from any other considerations). They do need to consider avoiding certain destinations, not only for their own safety but because travel in an un-vaccinated state could expose local people to dangers greater than those faced by the visitor.
Anyway, the decision to travel somewhere is a personal choice: the decision whether or not to have the appropriate vaccinations is a matter of taking the best possible medical advice appropriate to your individual circumstances and then acting on that advice.
Nov 13, 2012 6:44 AM
26Again I agree. And what I do not find in the anti-vaccination posts is any recognition that this personal deciion can impact others. Countries do not require that you be vaccinated to protect your own health. That they leave to you. Rather it is for the protection of their own population.
And I know frome experience about this- I spread polio to an entire party of children when I was young- several severely effected for life (This was just before the polio vaccine). I have seen other diseases spread to remote populations who were not vaccinated by well meaning outsiders who chose not to be protected.
The decision to vaccinate or not is just a personal one. It impacts entire populations and this needs to factor into the decision making.
Nov 13, 2012 7:02 AM
For other vaccines, it's the same. Some are OK (e.g. flu, tetanus); some may be OK, depending on status; some should not be given.
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