Immunizations for Travel to Uganda
Introduction | Summary Chart | Certificate of Immunization
Yellow Fever | Typhoid | Meningitis | Polio | Gamma Globulin
Tetanus/Diphtheria | Hepatitis A | Hepatitis B
Measles, Mumps, Rubella | Health Issues | Preparation Time Line
Uganda Mission Home

Once you decide you would like to become involved in ministry in Uganda, you should read through the information below and then consult you personal physician and/or local public health department at least seven months prior to you projected departure date. This will allow sufficient time to receive the immunizations in a timely order for maximum effectiveness and the least discomfort to yourself.

Some travel sites recommend consulting a physician who specializes in travel medicine but I have never done this for two reasons. The first is there is no such physician in the community in which I live. The second is that even when I consult a travel health web site, I still take the information gleaned by back to my family physician as he knows the most about my personal health. As a pastor, over the years, I have seen a number of cases (not overseas related) where individuals were being treated by several specialist at the same time with very little coordination and a lack of communication between these doctors, with less than a happy result. I have learned to never allow a physician to prescribe you a medication unless he or she knows EVERY OTHER medication you are taking. One site you should consult is CDC Health Information for Uganda. I would also suggest you look at this comprehensive website on General Immunization, prepared by a nurse practictioner.

You will probably find that some of these immunizations are not even stocked by your local health department. I was told to get my doctor to write a prescription for the serum needed. Then take the prescription to my pharmacist who will order it. Once it arrives, I was to take it all back to the health department and then pay them $10 per injection. Since only the Yellow Fever injection must be administered and authenticated (on Form PHS-731) by a recognized Yellow Fever Vaccinating Center, I have a registered nurse in my congregation give the rest of the injections at no additional cost. I have her record the proper information in the "Other Immunizations Received" on PHS-731. I go ahead and order all the serum needed for the trip and keep it in the refrigerator until the day of administration.

The information below is good "general" advice which is a starting point in determining your own immunization plan in consultation with your health care giver, based on your specific requirements. Additionally, I have found the whole subject of immunizations to be a moving target as recommendations are continually refined.

Here is a color and black & white printable ADOBE copy of this summary immunization chart, suitable to take to your physician, and/or health department, for their information, recommendations and updates based on your medical history and any medications you take.

Immunization Summary Chart
You should also visit the CDC Immunization
Side Affects web page.
Yellow Fever CDC Information Sheet
-Single dose, live virus, typically only certain clinic days
-Most clinics do not administer with other immunizations
-special requirements for those with egg allergies
-Must be recorded on PHS 731
-Effectiveness: 10 years

Typhoid injection CDC Information Sheet
Two doses four weeks apart
Effectiveness: 3 Years (booster every 3 years)
Vivotif Berna Oral Capsules
FDA Information Sheet
Dose: One capsule every other day for four days taken approximately one hour before eating with tap water. Must be completed a minimum of one week before trip.
Effectiveness: 5 years

Meninogoccal Meningitis - Menomune
CDC Information Sheet
Sing dose
Effectiveness: 5 Years

Polio virus Vaccine Inactivated - IPOL
CDC Information Sheet
See CDC Info Sheet
Effectiveness of Proper Number of Boosters: Life time

Gamma Globulin Immune Serum
Single dose administered as near departure as possible, but at least 3 months after yellow fever
Effectiveness: 2ml = 3 Months, 5ml = 5 Months
Not need if Hepatitis A immunization is received, most under 35 will have had the Hep series as required by most schools and colleges since the 1990s

Hepatitis A CDC Information Sheet
Two doses with 6 to 12 months between doses
Effectiveness: Lifetime Immunity
Hepatitis B CDC Information Sheet
Three Doses, 2nd at one month, 3rd at six months
Effectiveness: 2 doses = good, 3 doses = lifetime

Tetanus/Diphtheria CDC Information Sheet
Single dose
Effectiveness: 10 Years

Measles, Mumps & Rubella CDC Information Sheet
Single Booster
Effectiveness: Consult your healthcare provider

Rabies CDC Information Sheet
Three or Four Doses
Effectiveness: Typically recommended only for those dealing with animals so you should consult you healthcare provider

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Official Immunization Certificate

All immunizations must be recorded on an official International Certificate of Vaccination which is available at U.S. Government Bookstore locations

202-512-2250 fax
It is document PHS-731 (Order # 017-001-00483-9) and sells for $1.00. PHS-731 is a 12 page fold out form on which every type immunization should be recorded.

You might also check with you local health department for availability.

Officials at Entebbe Airport have not always checked my PHS-731 but common sense dictates that you have this document with you and that it be up-to-date. The Yellow Fever immunization must be recorded in it and I strongly recommend that all immunizations be recorded in it as well. PHS-731 is internationally recognized. A physician's statement is insufficient unless you are over 60 years of age and your healthcare giver provides a signed, written exemption on letterhead stationery that you should not receive the Yellow Fever immunization. Since a 2016 Yellow Fever an outbreak in Uganda, official at Entebbe Airport began checking everyone who entered to make certain they had the Yellow Fever immunization. Those who did not had to receive one there at the Airport in order to enter Uganda.

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Yellow Fever CDC Information Sheet
Yellow Fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is effectively prevented by proper immunization. It is given in live virus form and cannot be taken concurrently with other immunizations. Therefore it should be scheduled early. Very few experience any side effects. Individuals with egg allergy should make their physician/health department aware of such allergy BEFORE receiving a yellow fever injection. Also note the paragraph above.

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Typhoid Fever CDC Information Sheet
Typhoid fever is the only immunization that I have had in preparation for my various Africa trips that had an adverse effect on me. The night I had the injection I ran fever, had a sore arm and just generally felt bad all over. There is now an alternative to the injection and that is the Vivotif Berna Oral Capsule. Tests have shown it to be as effective as immunization by injection but without the negative side effects. I personally recommend it and encourage you to consult your personal physician about this alternative. The oral capsules (four are provided in a blister pack) and are to be taken every other day (eg. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) approximately one hour before a meal. It should be taken with water that is room temperature.

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Meningitis CDC Information Sheet
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges (membranes) that surround the brain and spinal cord. This condition can be caused by a number of microorganisms which are usually spread through the blood but can enter through an infection in the sinuses or middle ear. The very young and the elderly are most susceptible. Bacterial Meningtitis meningococcal meningitis is very common and usually associated with situations in which people live in very close contact with each other. CDC Information Sheet

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Polio CDC Information Sheet
Poliomyelitis (also known as infantile paralysis) is a serious viral infection that can enter the body through the mouth or nose and then move to the intestines. From there it travels via nerve fibers or in the blood to the central nervous system. Once there, nerve cells are entered, the virus rapidly multiplies and the nerves are damaged or killed. Depending on the number of cells involved, paralysis can result. There are three viruses that cause polio and are simply called, Type I, Type II, and Type III. Since the 1950s effective immunization has eliminated all three types of polio in all but underdeveloped areas, such as Uganda. I have seen children who have been affected by polio in Uganda so it makes good sense to protect yourself with a current inoculation. CDC Information Sheet

Africa Eradicates Wild Polio August 2020 News Item
Now only Afghanistan and Pakistan still have cases of wild polio, the most threatening form of the disease. The African Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication officially declared the continent free of the virus on Tuesday. Despite the progress, 16 African nations have recorded cases of vaccine-derived polio, a mutated form of the weakened virus from the oral polio vaccine.

How is eradication identified? The continent that once recorded 75,000 cases every year received the certification after going four years without recording a new case. The last infection occurred in 2016 in northern Nigeria, which has faced intense insurgent attacks. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, said eradication is the culmination of a "massive undertaking, with amazing persistence." Wild polio is a highly infectious, waterborne virus that mostly affects children younger than 5. (The Sift, Wednesday, August 26, 2020 World News Group

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Gamma Globulin Washington State Information Sheet

Gamma Globulin (Immunoglobulin) is recommended for individuals who have not had the Hepatitis A immunization (see below) and are traveling to the third world where sanitation is substandard. The Gamma Globulin immunization suppresses the Hepatitis A virus.

The most common side effect is a few hours of pain at the site of the injection. Gamma Globulin should be administered at least three months after the Yellow Fever (a live virus vaccine) to prevent the Gamma Globulin from interfering with the effectiveness of the Yellow Fever vaccine.

The maximum dose of the Gamma Globulin immunization is effective for five months. Individuals staying longer than five months should arrange for an additional injection at the required time.

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Hepatitis A CDC Information Sheet
A viral illness transmitted by direct contact with a person with the disease; or by consuming contaminated ice or water; shellfish from sewage-contaminated water; or peeled fruits, raw vegetables or uncooked foods contaminated by handling. (Proper cooking of these foods will kill the Hepatitis A virus)

Hepatitis B CDC Information Sheet
A disease that infects and damages the liver. The effects of hepatitis B range from a severe illness, to lifelong infection, cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure, liver cancer, and even death.

Hepatitis C CDC Information on Hep C
Hepatitis C is a virus found mainly in blood that causes inflammation of the liver. It is transmitted on the surface of items that are capable of piercing or cutting human skin tissue and causing bleeding, even a toothbrush.

You can avoid exposure to hepatitis C by not sharing personal hygiene instruments that can come into contact with human blood and by avoiding sexual behavior the Scriptures labels as illicit.

There is no vaccination against hepatitis C and there is no evidence that immunization against hepatitis A and B provides any immunity against hepatitis C.

For information on hepatitis, visit:
Hepatitis Foundation International
P O Box 22
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009-0022

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Tetanus/Diphtheria CDC Information Sheet

Tetanus is a bacterial infection that can enter the body through any wound but most commonly enters through a puncture wound in the hand or foot. Prevention is through proper safety measures, and active immunization which is usually accomplished during childhood and maintained through boosters at least once a decade. Some wound care specialist recommend an additional booster following a serious wound if the most recent booster is more than one year old. Symptoms include inability to open your mouth or swallow and serious muscle spasms, and even death.

Diphtheria is a serious disease that produces a thick coating in the nose, throat, and windpipe, that leads to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis, and potentially, death.

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Measles, Mumps, Rubella CDC Information Sheet

Measles causes high fever, coughing, and a rash and the symptoms can last for up to two weeks. MMR has been considered a only a childhood immunization until recently. Health authorities are now recommending a booster dose for everyone under age 40 and especially women who desire to have children. An MMR booster is now required to enter the Florida university system. The primary target is the measles, but it is felt the three in one immunization is preferred. Mumps is an acute contagious viral disease which causes high fever and swelling of the parotid gland. Rubella is German measles.

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Rabies CDC Information Sheet
Rabies is a viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animals like bats, raccoons, foxes, dogs, and other mammals, typically in the wild. Rabies infects the central nervous system, which then goes to the brain and causes death. At onset, the symptoms are similar to many other diseases (fever, weakness, headache, and general discomfort). In the advanced stages there is insomnia, confusion, increase in saliva, even hallucinations. Please consult the CDC site listed above.

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Please consult the Malaria Section of this website for complete information on malaria and its prevention.

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