If you are travelling to any African or South American
country, you need to be aware of the vaccination requirements. For Kenya, it is
necessary to have vaccination certificate for Polio and Yellow fever. This is
very important and should not be ignored as you would either be denied exit
from India or entry to the destination country or get quarantined on return at
your cost!! This post is to explain the process to get these vaccines in
Karnataka, especially Bengaluru.
If you are travelling to Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia,
Syria, Afghanistan or Pakistan, it is necessary to undergo a dose of Polio
vaccine. India is a polio free country and hence this requirement is set by
Indian Government. The fact that every one of us has taken Polio vaccine during
our childhood does not matter. We need to take the dose again.
In Bengaluru, the only recognized center that administers
polio vaccine for International travellers is at the following address:
SJP Road, Opposite to Town Hall,
Bengaluru – 560002
Contact name: Manjula, Phone number: 7760089567
The center is open from 10AM-2PM. Closed on Sundays and
other Government Holidays. It is required to take original Passport with you.
I called up and took appointment for one Saturday. It was a
Government Hospital. But I was surprised at the professional behavior of the
staff in charge Manjula. The entire process was done in less than 10 minutes
and I was given a certificate. It is free service and no one asked for money.
There is a need for such people in Government jobs.
The certificate issued is valid for a year. Note that the
vaccine needs to be taken at least 4 weeks before the travel.
Also, I understood why children cry on consuming oral
vaccine!! It tastes *&%&^%&.
While it was a pleasant experience at Polio center, the
experience was exactly opposite for yellow fever vaccination causing me some anxious
moments. To give a background, Yellow fever occurs only in South America and
Africa. So the need for vaccination in India arises only for people travelling
to those continents. Government has designated “Public health center” in each state
to administer this vaccine. Karnataka has only one center in Bangalore. The
Public Health Institute (Opposite to S.J.Polytechnique college)
Near Atria Hotel & Maharani College, K.R Circle, Bangalore-560001, Karnataka, India.
Contact person: Shivaram, Phone number: 080-22210248.
The vaccine should be taken at least 10 days before travel
and is valid for 10 years. It is a multidose vaccine and hence it is
administered for a group of 10 people at a time. Vaccine is given only on
Wednesday (If Wednesday is holiday, then it is given on Thursday). Appointment
through phone should be taken on Monday morning. Person should carry original
passport and Air Ticket to get the certificate. The price of the vaccine is Rs
400/-. Government provides subsidy and hence the cost is very less. Looks great
so far, right?
But the devil is in the details. I called the person in
charge about 1.5 months before my travel. Lot of people had mentioned about
difficulty in reaching his phone but I never faced that issue. When called, he
said that the vaccines are not in stock and asked me to call 15 days before my
travel. I started getting concerned. But I believed him foolishly. 15 days
before I call again and he repeats the same sentence and asks me to come a week
before travel. Considering that the vaccine takes 10 days to become effective,
this was not practical. Looks like one need to forge the travel dates (A
trivial job in e-ticket) to get on time vaccination. Very sad state of affairs
I was a tensed man on that Monday. After doing lid lot of research and
investigation, I decided to take directly go to the Public health center
I reach at 9AM and already there were few people. They had
got appointment and scare me by telling that nothing works without appointment.
That was not good news for me but I decided to wait and watch. At 9:45 the guy
comes in and announces that only people with appointments to enter and rest to
leave the place. “No vaccine and given only to limited people” were his
words. I stand patiently outside waiting
for an opportunity. When the crowd around him thins, I go and test my luck. It
does not work as he sings the same “No vaccine” song. I then tell that if I
bring Single dose vaccine from Pharmacy (It is available in some medical shop. The cost is around Rs 1650/-), can they administer and give me
the Yellow certificate. His tone slightly changes and asked me to wait till
12 PM. Looked like there is some hope.
Fifty people had been given appointment. I was wondering why
I did not get appointment. It seemed that lot of people came from “Influence
quota”. I also find out that they had given vaccines to 100+ people on previous
weeks while I was given an explanation of “No vaccines”.
Finally after waiting for 3 hours and pleading relentlessly, I am given the vaccine.
The doctors and nurses were not very professional. They
never showed me what they were giving (Ex: Whether the syringe is new or not). I
will not be surprised if they inject water instead of vaccine!!
Friends, please plan for these vaccinations if you are going
to Africa or South America. The process is not hassle free (for Yellow fever) at
least in Karnataka.
There are some private clinics that administer this vaccine
and provide certificate. Not sure about the validity of the certificate. They
charge around Rs 4,500/-. It is a day light robbery as the single dose vaccine
costs RS 1650/-. While I hate Government apathy in providing health support, my
aversion to private clinics who loot people taking advantage of Government is
Labels: Kenya, travel