Travel Vaccine Breaking News

Travel vaccine breaking news brought to you by Vax Before Travel.

Mar 6, 2021 • 9:13 am CST

Switzerland-based Global Polio Eradication Initiative published its weekly summary of new WPV and cVDPV polioviruses AFP cases and ES positives. This map displays the latest number of WPV1 and cVDPV cases in each affected country.

As of March 3, 2021, the following countries reported polio news: Afghanistan: one cVDPV2 case and nine cVDPV2 positive environmental samples; Pakistan: three WPV1 environmental samples, three cVDPV2 cases, and 10 cVDPV2 positive environmental samples; Egypt: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples, Ethiopia: one cVDPV2 case and one positive environmental sample, Liberia: three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples, South Sudan: seven cVDPV2 cases, Tajikistan: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample.

Polio can be prevented with a vaccine, says the U.S. CDC. The CDC recommends that children get polio vaccinated to protect against poliomyelitis. Since 2000, the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is most often given in the USA. It is administered by a shot in the arm or leg, depending on the person’s age.

The IPOL vaccine is a sterile suspension of three types of poliovirus: Type 1 (Mahoney), Type 2 (MEF-1), and Type 3 (Saukett). It is a highly purified, inactivated poliovirus vaccine with enhanced potency administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six-core partners with a goal to eradicate polio worldwide.

Mar 5, 2021 • 2:17 pm CST

There is an outbreak of yellow fever in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said the U.S. CDC on March 1, 2021. The yellow fever outbreak is currently in the Nigerian states of Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi, and Enugu. Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever.

The CDC's Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, Travel Alert, says 'unless vaccinated, travelers should not visit these areas in West Africa.'

Furthermore, travelers to Nigeria should take steps to prevent yellow fever by getting vaccinated at least 10 days before travel and taking steps to prevent mosquito bites, says the CDC.

The government of Nigeria requires that all travelers 9 months of age or older show proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter the country. A signed and stamped International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (“Yellow Card”) provides proof of vaccination.

However, not all Yellow Cards are valid.

“We estimate that around 80% of yellow fever travel cards in Zimbabwe are counterfeit,” said Dr. Mchechesi, a co-founder at Vaxiglobal, a travel health consultancy.

Yellow fever vaccines are currently available at a limited number of clinics in the USA. 

Talk with a health care provider if you have questions about the yellow fever vaccine. Yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for some people. If you cannot be vaccinated against yellow fever (for whatever reason), do not travel to places where yellow fever outbreaks are occurring, says the CDC.

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Mar 4, 2021 • 3:27 pm CST

The US Department of State issued its highest level travel advisory on March 1, 2021, for the United Republic of Tanzania, a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region.

This Level 4 Advisory says, 'do not travel to Tanzania due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the pandemic, Tanzania has not implemented stay-at-home orders nor limited transportation options or business operations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has previously issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Tanzania. CDC compliant testing for COVID-19 is either not available, or results are not always available within 3 calendar days of testing. And travelers should expect delays when returning to the USA.

Additionally, the State Department says 'violent crime, such as assault, sexual assault, robberies, mugging, and carjacking, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious crime. Members of the LGBTI community have been arrested, targeted, harassed, and/or charged with unrelated offenses. Individuals detained under suspicion of same-sex sexual conduct could be subject to forced anal examinations.

Terrorist groups could attack in Tanzania with little or no warning, targeting embassies, police stations, mosques, and other places frequented by Westerners.

If you visit Tanzania, the State Department suggests enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

The local US Embassy is located at 686 Old Bagamoyo Road, Msasani, Dar es Salaam. Phone: 255-22-229-4000.

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Mar 4, 2021 • 11:40 am CST

The U.S. government is funneling travelers from certain African countries into six airports to conduct enhanced Ebola disease screening. These airports are Washington-Dulles International, Atlanta Hartsfield, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles International, JFK, and Newark.

The 12th Ebola outbreak has been declared the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Air travel has the potential to transport people, some of whom may have been exposed to a communicable disease, anywhere across the globe in less than 24 hours. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. government will institute public health measures for travelers arriving from DRC and Guinea.

Visitors will provide personal health information to the U.S. CDC for public health follow-up and intervention. These travelers can expect verification of data on arrival to ensure completeness and accurateness of contact information. This information will be shared with U.S. state and local health departments to appropriately monitor arrivals in their jurisdiction.

Cumulatively, the DRC reported 11 confirmed cases with four deaths (CFR: 36%) in four health zones. And Guinea has reported 17 cases (13 confirmed and 4 probable) with seven deaths and two recoveries as of March 3, 2021.


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Mar 3, 2021 • 2:04 pm CST

The U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 1 Travel Alert for many parts of Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean regarding Dengue virus risks. The CDC published an updated Dengue risk map for the Americas and the Caribbean.

Because mosquito bites spread dengue, all travelers to risk areas should prevent mosquito bites, said the CDC on March 2, 2021. You can find the right insect repellent by using EPA's search tool.

As of February 17, 2021, the CDC had confirmed five travel-related dengue cases in the continental US and 42 dengue cases in Puerto Rico during 2021.

Dengue disease can take up to 2 weeks to develop, with an illness generally lasting less than a week. Health effects from dengue include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle and joint pain, and minor bleeding.

Dengue can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency, usually requiring hospitalization. In severe cases, health effects can include hemorrhage, shock, organ failure, and death says the CDC.

Learn more about dengue how to prevent it on CDC’s dengue page for travelers. An updated dengue vaccine approved list is found on this webpage.

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Mar 2, 2021 • 6:38 am CST

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on February 26, 2021, it is closely following the new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Guinea.

The CDC stated 'Air travel has the potential to transport people, some of whom may have been exposed to a communicable disease, anywhere across the globe in less than 24 hours. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. government will institute public health measures for the minimal number of travelers arriving from DRC and Guinea.'

In March 2021, the U.S. government will funnel travelers from DRC and Guinea to six U.S. airports.

Airlines will collect and transmit passenger information to the CDC for public health follow-up and intervention for all passengers boarding a flight to the U.S. in DRC or Guinea within the previous 21 days. Passengers can expect verification of data on arrival to ensure completeness and accurateness of contact information.

This personal health information will be shared with U.S. state and local health departments to monitor arrivals in their jurisdiction appropriately.

The CDC continues to say the 'risk of Ebola to the United States is extremely low.'

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Mar 1, 2021 • 9:49 am CST

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on February 24, 2021, another Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been identified. This outbreak is in the North Kivu (Kivu Nord) province.

On February 7, 2021, the DRC Ministry of Health declared the 12th outbreak of Ebola. The 10th outbreak occurred in the same region and lasted nearly 2 years.

Travelers to this area of eastern DRC could be infected with Ebola if they come in contact with an infected person’s blood or other body fluids. Travelers should seek medical care immediately if they develop fever, muscle pain, sore throat, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising during or after travel, says the CDC.

If US citizens are traveling to this area, the US Department of State suggests enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive security updates and information about getting help in the event of an emergency.

Approved Ebola vaccines and treatment information are posted on this webpage.

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Feb 27, 2021 • 1:27 pm CST

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced they had developed a draft Zika virus (ZIKV) Research and Development (R&D) Roadmap.

The purpose of the Roadmap is to accelerate the development and implementation of effective medical countermeasures for ZIKV to reduce morbidity, mortality, and transmission. The roadmap identifies the vision, strategic goals, and aligned milestones to develop effective diagnostics, therapeutic agents, and Zika vaccines.

This Roadmap is a key component of the WHO’s R&D Blueprint, a global strategy and preparedness plan that allows the activation of R&D activities in advance of and during epidemics.

With WHO as the convener, the broad global coalition of experts contributing to the Blueprint comes from medical, scientific, and regulatory backgrounds. WHO Member States welcomed the development of the Blueprint at the World Health Assembly in May 2016.

The U.S. CDC says, 'if you are pregnant, you should NOT travel to areas with an active Zika outbreak (as indicated by red areas on the CDC's Zika map).

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Feb 27, 2021 • 1:13 pm CST

As Ebola immunization scales up in Guinea, the country’s neighboring nations are on high alert, urgently preparing to detect, isolate and manage any cases and quickly stamp out potential cross-border outbreaks.

All six nations bordering Guinea are finalizing their national preparedness and readiness operational plans according to a WHO readiness assessment tool. The overall state of readiness in these countries is nearly 66%, which is still lower than the benchmark of 80%. 

Rapid response teams are being deployed to border areas to support the preparedness plans of health districts. Testing and treatment facilities are being scaled up and work to ensure communities take full ownership of Ebola vaccine options.

So far, 20 alerts of suspected cases have been reported in three countries. All tested negative for Ebola.

“We’ve learned the hard lessons of history, and we know with Ebola and other health emergencies, preparedness works. It’s act now or pay later, in lives lost and economies ruined. Systematic surveillance, comprehensive preparations, and strong cross-border coordination are crucial to detecting any cases and ensuring that they are quickly isolated and treated. That vaccination of high-risk contacts begins quickly,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a press statement issued on February 26, 2021.

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Feb 24, 2021 • 2:37 pm CST

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Norris Cochran declared a public health emergency for the state of Texas due to the recent winter storms. This declaration follows President Biden’s emergency declaration for the state of Texas last week. The recent HHS action allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to give healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs in disasters.

"As communities across Texas are facing the aftermath of severe winter weather that is unusual for the area, we are ready to provide critical support,” said HHS Acting Secretary Cochran in a press statement. “HHS stands ready to assist the state of Texas to get aid to those individuals and families most impacted by these storms.”

On February 22, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had approved an additional 31 Texas counties to be added to the President's Major Disaster Declaration for Individual Assistance.

On February 20th, the White House partial approval included Individual Assistance in 77 counties and for Public Assistance (Emergency Protective Measures Only) in all 254 counties in Texas.

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Feb 24, 2021 • 9:04 am CST

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on February 23, 2021, it accepted New York-based Pfizer Inc.'s Priority Review Biologics License Application for TicoVac™, its tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) vaccine for active immunization to prevent TBE in individuals 1 year of age and older.

TicoVac 0.5 ml and TicoVac Junior 0.25 ml are administered based on official recommendations regarding the need for, and timing of, vaccination against TBE.

 If approved, TicoVac would be the first vaccine in the USA to help protect adults and children who are visiting or living in TBE endemic areas.

Pfizer's TicoVac vaccine helps protect all known subtypes of the TBE virus, including the European, Siberian, and Far Eastern subtypes.

TicoVac contains the Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus, which is inactivated using formaldehyde and cannot cause disease. The individual's immune system is stimulated by the inactivated virus, producing antibodies against it, which provides them with protection against TBE.  

To date, ticks infected with the TBE virus have been identified in more than 35 countries across Europe and Asia. The European CDC currently recommends TBE vaccination for people who live in or are traveling to high-risk areas.

Pfizer Inc. is an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.

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Feb 23, 2021 • 7:27 pm CST

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on February 23, 2021, Ebola vaccinations had launched in Guinea as the emergency response was escalated to counter the spread of the virus that re-emerged in the country recently for the first time since 2016.

The vaccination was launched in Gouecke, a rural community in N’Zerekore prefecture, where the first cases were detected on February 14th.

“The last time Guinea faced an Ebola outbreak, vaccines were still being developed,” stated WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a press release. “With the experience and expertise it has built up, combined with safe and effective vaccines, Guinea has the tools and the know-how to respond to this outbreak."

The vaccination began just 24 hours after Guinea received more than 11,000 doses of Merck's Ervebo rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine sent by WHO from its headquarters in Geneva. In addition, WHO is organizing the deployment of over 8,500 doses received directly from Merck in the initial phase of immunization.

Feb 23, 2021 • 11:08 am CST

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Portugal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visiting Portugal increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. As of early February 2021, the CDC recommends travelers should avoid all travel to Portugal.

Previously, the US Department of State issued a Level 3 Advisory: Reconsider Travel to Portugal on February 16, 2021.

The State Department says 'limited transportation options are available, and some land border crossings are closed. Only essential businesses, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical services, are operating. And entry restrictions, pre-flight COVID-19 testing, and quarantine measures are in place for U.S. citizen travelers.

Visit the US Embassy's webpage for details.

Feb 23, 2021 • 9:28 am CST

American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines recently announced vaccination requirements for all guests and crew members. Beginning July 2021, proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is required before travel.

Additionally, guests will check-in at a pre-cruise hotel the day before embarkation and participate in a COVID-19 test.

"Vaccination requirements for both our guests and crew is the most prudent next step to ensure that we are providing the safest cruising experience possible,” John Waggoner, CEO, and founder of American Queen Steamboat Company, told Condé Nast Traveler.

'The health and safety of our guests, crew members, and partners is our top priority. While we are confident in the measures we have taken for itineraries operating from April through June, the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination mandate will further ensure the wellbeing of the individuals who overnight on our vessels.'

These protocols will remain in place until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends otherwise, says the company.

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Feb 22, 2021 • 7:59 pm CST

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on February 4, 2021, there are polio outbreaks in several countries in Asia. Countries in Asia where a booster dose of polio vaccine is recommended before travel are visible on this CDC map.

According to this Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, travelers going to countries with circulating poliovirus who have completed their routine polio vaccine series but who have not already received an adult booster dose, the CDC recommends administering an inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) booster dose.

The World Health Organization recommends that these countries require residents and long-term (4 weeks or more) visitors to show proof of polio vaccination before leaving the country.

Since 2000, the IPV is most often given in the USA. It is administered by a shot in the arm or leg, depending on the person’s age. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) is offered in other countries.

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