Yellow Fever – Is the certificate mightier than the vaccine?
Yellow Fever vaccination is one of the foremost things you would have to consider when making travel arrangements, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 30,000 deaths yearly due to this disease.
The introduction of the vaccine brought some form of relief to the traveller, however, since the introduction, authorities are making the everyday traveller assume possessing the International Certificate of Vaccination is synonymous to taking the vaccine. Majority of the health facilities and health desks in most African airports and borders only issue the vaccination certificate at a fee without actually administering the vaccine.
People exiting Ghana through Aflao, and do not possess International Certificate of Vaccination are issued copies without receiving the vaccine and sometimes are even made to pay specific amounts, devoid of the certificate. It has become a norm for passengers travelling from Ghana and have not taken the vaccine, to only purchase the certificate. Passengers arriving in Kenya without the certificate are issued copies at a fee without any form of vaccination against yellow fever.
As a person travelling, it is for your good and safety to regard yellow fever as dangerous as, either HIV-AIDS or Ebola. Acquiring and possessing the certificate just for immigration purposes will always put your life at risk, as the document is not a guarantee of good health nor a form of protection against the deadly yellow fever. Possessing the yellow fever vaccine certificate without actually taken the vaccine is like “operating with a fake document, there is always the possibility of you being caught!” (i.e. you are always open to acquiring the disease)
I am bothered, why authorities at various ports in Africa, are only interested in being shown the certificate or issuing the document, without putting in measures to check if a traveller has vaccinated against the disease.
Journeys are supposed to be enjoyed to the fullest, and it is always an excellent occasion to relieve some stress and also enjoy both natural and human-made scenes that come with it. So when a critical part of the process, such as this is ignored, then your guess is as good as mine.
READ ALSO: Yellow Fever Vaccination Card: Validity, Vaccination Centers, Replacement, Affected Countries