This just in:
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide. com - It now begins to appear that in fact Panama will required Yellow Fever vaccinations for anyone entering the country. Of course there are exceptions for the very young or for those who the shot is not recommended for medical reasons, but those people are going to have to show basically a note from their doctor excusing them from the requirement. After I sent out a quick query this morning I started to receive additional information from several sources. It seems that the Panamanian Ministry of Health (MINSA) issued a notification 089-DE/0091- DGS/MS stating that they will begin to enforce the requirement on Wednesday, 1 October 2008. (more)
People Are Already Going To Be Screwed: This requirement takes effect on 1 October 2008, in four days. The shot takes ten days to take effect. So, if you don't already have the shot and you're holding tickets, you might not be allowed to travel. You can expect a significant degree of confusion to reign until standard procedures are established.
In Colombia: This came from Noticias RCN in Colombia:
Panama will begin to demand a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate from travelers.
The measure adopted by the Republic of Panama governmental, airport and sea port authorities, and health authorities will take effect on Wednesday, 1 October 2008.
According to an official press release presented by Panamanian authorities, “all travelers coming (into Panama) from countries where there is a risk of Yellow Fever transmission, according to the list published by the World Health Organization, who wish to enter the country must be properly vaccinated against this disease.”
The press release adds that "should any passenger arrive in the country without such accreditation, they will be returned to the country where they came from by the airline that carried them here."
The vaccine can be applied free of charge in airports and ground terminals in Colombia. The shot is good for ten years, but it will have to be applied at least ten days before arriving in Panama.
Mostly To Protect Panama: The governmental authorities in Panama are taking these measures to reduce the likelihood of someone who has been infected in their home country of bringing the disease here. From the looks of things travelers from the United States and Canada are not going be needing the Yellow Fever shot to visit Panama. However, I took a look at the World Health Organization' s website about Yellow Fever, and if you go to Costa Rica then they might require you to have the shot in order to come back in. Take a look at the following two graphics: (see note below)
Selective Requirement: So, according to the press release, “all travelers coming (into Panama) from countries where there is a risk of Yellow Fever transmission, according to the list published by the World Health Organization, who wish to enter the country must be properly vaccinated against this disease.” Anyone wanted to enter Panama from any of the countries shaded in blue above will probably have to be vaccinated.
The Onus is On the Airlines: Panama has apparently made it clear that if the airlines allow a passenger to board a plane and fly to Panama who has not been property vaccinated, then that passenger will be returned to their country of origin at the expense of the carrier. Much of the material that's being forwarded to me is coming in the form of press releases and announcements from airlines who are trying to get the word out to their passengers. The airlines will probably begin to screen passengers at the ticket counter and if you don't have the shot then you can't get on the plane.
Ten Day Incubation Period: Also, you can't just get the shot at the airport and be on your merry way. The shot has to have been administered at least ten days prior to your arrival in Panama or you will be denied entry to Panama.
To Get Your Shot Here: Go to the "International Immunization Center" in the Metropolitan Regional Health Center located in Corozal on the road leading to the Miraflores locks in the old IDAAN building. Due to the anticipated increase in demand for the shot they have increased their operating hours and will now be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 12:00 noon, and then from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The cost for the shot is $5.00 bucks. Phone numbers are 512-6600 and 512-6666.
A Requirement To Leave: The MINSA document also requires anyone who is leaving Panama and flying to a country that is on the list will also require a vaccination. So, if you want to fly to Costa Rica or Colombia or Peru then you will need the shot (or they might not let you travel.)
Note from Tothill: Because of the size of the graphics, I left off the map from the World Health Organization showing countries where there is a risk of Yellow Fever transmission. But basically, it's all of Central and South America.
So the way I read this article, is beginning October 1, 2008, everyone (boaters included) entering Panama from Venezuela, Colombia or Costa Rica, etc., or leaving Panama for Colombia, etc., will be required to have had a Yellow Fever vaccination at least 10 days prior to entering/leaving the country. This could be a BIG PROBLEM for cruisers travling between San Blas Islands and Cartagena, etc who have not been vaccinated, or can't prove they have, by showing the official vaccination records.
Pass the word to your cruising buddies who are not on this forum. Glenn & Eddie TuttleM/V TothillShelter Bay MarinaPanama