People can get inoculated against yellow fever for free through the end of November, as health authorities want to use more than 9,000 doses of the vaccine before they expire, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
The vaccine, which normally costs NT$2,152, offers lifelong protection against the disease, but with travel having dried up amid the COVID-19 pandemic, supplies have gone unused, the CDC said.
People who want to get the vaccine for free should visit a clinic that offers travel-related vaccinations and health services before Nov. 30, the CDC said, adding that they would still need to pay hospital registration fees and the cost of issuing a vaccination certificate.
The vaccine is required for travel to parts of Africa and South America, it said.
“In such countries, people are required to present an international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis to customs officials upon entry,” it said.
The disease is spread through mosquitoes, and those who are exposed usually develop symptoms — a fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pain and headaches — within three to six days.
About 15 percent of people who contract the disease enter a second phase within a day of initial recovery that can include bleeding from the nose, gums and eyes, bloody vomit and a heightened risk of kidney failure.
High-risk countries for transmission of the disease generally require vaccination prior to entry, while some countries require travelers from high-risk countries to be vaccinated prior to entry.
The WHO Web site has an updated list of high-risk nations and those requiring vaccination.
Taiwan is not a high-risk country for the disease, but does require vaccination of all arriving travelers from high-risk countries, including people who are only transiting.
The yellow fever shot is an attenuated vaccine that takes effect within about 10 days, the CDC said.
About 30 percent of people have side effects from the vaccine, which include headaches, muscle soreness or a light fever within a week or two, but symptoms subside within one or two days, it said.
Those getting vaccinated against yellow fever and COVID-19 should ensure there is at least two weeks between the jabs, it added.
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