Travel Vaccine Breaking News

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

Jan 27, 2023 • 2:10 pm CST
by Chester Photography

The U.S. Department of State recently updated its travel advisory for the Plurinational State of Bolivia in western-central South America.

On January 26, 2023, the State Department's Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution notice highlighted areas of concern.

For the Chapare region, do not travel due to civil unrest. Also called The Chapare, this rural province is in the northern part of the Cochabamba Department in central Bolivia.

Chapare is adjacent to Peru, which also reported civil unrest in 2023. 

The State Department also suggested reconsidering traveling to the Yungas region, which is located further north in Bolivia.

If you visit Bolivia or are in-country, the State Department says to avoid demonstrations and crowds and enroll in STEP to receive embassy alerts and to be located in an emergency.

And, due to ongoing public demonstrations in the southern city of Santa Cruz, the U.S. Consular Agency announced on January 4, 2023, it would remain closed until further notice.

And recommended visitors should limit travel to and around Santa Cruz.

American citizens in Santa Cruz needing urgent consular assistance can contact the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy La Paz, located at Avenida Arce 2780, La Paz, Bolivia.

At over 3,500m elevation, La Paz is positioned in the Andes' Altiplano plateau near the snow-capped Mt. Illimani, with the world's highest cable car. Or visitors can visit Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake.

Furthermore, Canada confirmed that roadblocks are common on January 26, 2023, and can lead to significant traffic and public transportation disruptions. The following areas are vulnerable to blockades: along Bolivia–Peru border and roads leading to international airports.

From a health perspective, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests several pre-visit vaccinations, such as yellow fever.

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for all travelers ≥9 months of age traveling to areas in elevation and east of the Andes Mountains: the entire departments of Beni, Pando, Santa Cruz, and designated areas of Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz, and Tarija departments.

In the U.S., the YF-Vax vaccine is available at certified travel clinics and pharmacies.

The article was updated on Jan. 28, 2023.

Jan 26, 2023 • 11:00 am CST
U.S. CDC Travel Screening At US Airports 2023

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health today announced the expansion of the Traveler Genomic Surveillance (TGS) program to two additional U.S. airports, Los Angeles and Seattle.

This expansion is helping the CDC to detect new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus variants among international air travelers.

U.S. airports are visited by more than 1 billion travelers annually and can serve as the front line for public health officials to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recently, the TGS program was among the first globally to identify BQ.1.1 and contributed towards its designation as a sub-lineage. 

TGS also has been among the first to identify and report BA.2.75.2, XBB, and CH.1.1 in the U.S.

In total, the TGS program currently has sites in seven major U.S. international airports:

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City

Los Angeles International Airport

Newark Liberty International Airport 

San Francisco International Airport

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport 

The next time you travel through one of these airports, stop by the TGS booth, volunteer to participate, and receive a free COVID-19 at-home test kit for your time contributing to public health, stated the CDC on January 26, 2023.

Jan 26, 2023 • 10:30 am CST
PAHO disease case report Jan. 26, 2023

According to new data published today by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Region of the Americas reported 3,113,022 arboviral disease cases in 2022.

Of those cases, 90.1 % were dengue, 8.7 % were chikungunya, and 1.2 % were Zika virus.

Regarding related fatalities, dengue infections produced 1,289 deaths, chikungunya was 87, and Zika produced 2 deaths last year.

It is worth noting that in 2022 dengue peaked at week #17, whereas chikungunya peaked in week #18, and the Zika virus circulation was more robust in the first semester.

Country-specific data on case counts and completeness can be found at https://www.paho.org/plisa.

While dengue has two approved preventive vaccines available in certain countries, chikungunya and Zika candidates remain in various stages of human clinical trials as of January 26, 2023.

Jan 25, 2023 • 1:23 pm CST
by Adrian P.

EverGlade Consulting today announced that Sabin Vaccine Institute successfully secured up to $214 million in funding from the U.S. government to advance the development and production of single-dose vaccine candidates for Ebola Sudan and Marburg virus diseases.

Currently, no licensed vaccines against either virus cause hemorrhagic fever and kill approximately half the people infected.

There are U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines for a different ebolavirus known as Zaire.

BARDA, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, will initially invest $35 million to produce up to 100,000 doses of the ChAd3-SUDV Ebola Sudan virus vaccine candidate.

These vaccines may be part of ongoing U.S. preparedness efforts and response to future global outbreaks.

The contract also includes funding to manufacture Sabin's Marburg virus vaccine, ChAd3-MARV, which will generate doses that could be used in trials and response to a future Marburg virus outbreak.

Andrew Stiles, Principal at EverGlade, said in a press release on January 25, 2023, "The recent Ebola Sudan outbreak in Uganda emphasized the critical need for better preparedness."

The initial Ebola virus disease (EVD) case first appeared in 1976.

The recent Sudan Ebolavirus outbreak in the Republic of Uganda was declared on September 20, 2022, and was declared ended in early 2023.

Detailed ebola vaccine information is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Ebola.

Jan 24, 2023 • 11:13 am CST
Sergio Amiti Credit: Getty Images

Peru's Culture Ministry website recently posted a notice that it had closed the country's most famous tourist attraction "to protect the safety of tourists and the population in general."

As of January 21, 2023, the 15th-century ancient ruins of Machu Picchu were not accepting future visitors to this mountaintop site, as the train service was recently closed.

There are a number of hiking routes along the Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu, however, it takes about five days to reach the top.

Traditionally, over 2,000 people visit Machu Picchu daily.

Machu Picchu is located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a 2,430-meter mountain ridge.

Cusco, Peru, where Machu Picchu is located, has been the site of some civil unrest in 2023.

The local airport, Alejandro Velasco Astete, was closed recently.

But, flights are expected to resume at Arequipa's Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon International Airport on January 26, 2023. According to the U.S. Embassy Peru, U.S. citizens should contact the appropriate airline for flight rescheduling.

For emergencies involving American citizens in Peru, please email [email protected] or call +51-1-618-2000. And U.S. citizens are advised to register in STEP to receive alerts and messages from the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

Jan 24, 2023 • 10:10 am CST
U.S. Dept. of State map of Nigeria Jan 2023

The U.S. Department of State updated its Level 3 Travel Advisory for the federal republic of Nigeria, located in west Africa.

Local media reported people should exercise caution around events in Lagos State from Jan. 23-24, 2023. And plan for localized transport disruptions.

As of January 23, 2023, the State Department says Do Not Travel to certain areas due to civil unrest:

  • Borno, Yobe, Kogi, and northern Adamawa states,
  • Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, and Zamfara states,
  • Coastal areas of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers states (except Port Harcourt).

Furthermore, the U.S. Consulate in Lagos provides all routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Nigeria. The U.S. Embassy Abuja can only provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in Abuja.

U.S. citizens in Nigeria who require assistance should contact [email protected] or +234 1 460 3410.

Additionally, they should enroll in the Smart Traveler Program to receive alerts and facilitate extraction during emergencies.

From a health perspective, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises future Nigeria visitors to speak with a travel vaccine advisory about one month before departure.

The CDC has recently issued various Travel Health notices for Nigeria's disease outbreaks, such as yellow fever, polio, measles, and Mpox.

Jan 22, 2023 • 12:54 pm CST
PAHO/WHO Haiti Cholera Outbreak 2023

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recently reported that since the initial cholera cases (Vibrio cholerae O1) in the greater Port-au-Prince area in October 2022, the Haitian Ministry of Health has reported a total of 24,232 suspected cases and 483 registered fatalities.

As of January 14, 2023, the Ouest Department, which includes the municipalities of Port-au-Prince, Cité-Soleil, and Carrefour, continues to report the highest number of cases, with 67% (N=10,836) of all suspected cases reported.

During a similar time frame, a total of 19 confirmed cases have been reported in the Dominican Republic (DR), with five of them imported from Haiti. 

In a press release on January 15, 2023, the DR's Ministry of Public Health urged residents not to be alarmed and to remain attentive to the issued reports.

The latest PAHO risk assessment of the Cholera event in La Hispaniola Island (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) assesses the event as very high risk locally, moderate at the regional level, and low at the global level.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in 2022, vaccination may be considered for children and adults traveling to areas of active cholera transmission.

As of January 2023, cholera vaccines remain unavailable in the U.S.

Cholera is rare in travelers but can be severe. Certain factors may increase the risk of getting cholera or having severe disease. The CDC says avoiding unsafe food and water and washing your hands can also help prevent cholera.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Stated announced in December 2022 do not travel to Haiti due to civil unrest. U.S. citizens should depart Haiti now in light of the current security and health situation and infrastructure challenges.

Furthermore, clinicians should be prepared to treat cholera cases in travelers returning to the U.S. in 2023.

Jan 22, 2023 • 9:21 am CST
U.S. CDC New Zealand

New Zealand's pending Prime Minister recently reconfirmed that the local vaccination policy requiring everyone to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will continue in 2023.

Chris "Chippy" Hipkins, the current minister of education, police, and Public Service, stated in an earlier video, '... if you haven't been vaccinated, you will be identified.'

According to a Bloomberg report on January 21, 2023, the former COVID minister will soon become New Zealand's prime minister.

This vaccination philosophy is synergistic with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) November 2022 statement that all eligible travelers to New Zealand should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.

Furthermore, the CDC suggests international travelers should ensure they are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip abroad in 2023.

This suggestion includes measles vaccinations.

New Zealand's 2019–2020 measles outbreak was an epidemic that primarily impacted the Auckland region.

To alert travelers, the CDC published a Watch-Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions notice regarding measles as an ongoing risk worldwide on December 1, 2022.

Furthermore, New Zealand's northern neighbor of India is confronting an ongoing measles outbreak in 2023, with over 12,000 cases impacting various areas last year.

Jan 22, 2023 • 7:44 am CST
National Geographic Society Map 2023

The U.S. Department of State recently updated it's Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution for when visiting the southernmost continent of Antarctica.

As of January 19, 2023, the State Department announced travelers should be aware of environmental hazards posed by extreme and unpredictable weather and limited emergency services.

For travelers to Antarctica, severe low temperatures and high winds are the primary health hazards.

Temperature patterns vary widely because Antarctica is covered in continuous darkness during the winter and constant sunlight during the summer.

The sun's effects in Antarctica can damage the eyes and skin, and protective measures should be taken.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests various travel vaccinations, such as measles, before visiting Antarctica.

And if you travel to Antarctica, obtain comprehensive travel, medical, and medical evacuation insurance; see our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage, says the State Department.

The U.S. government does not maintain an embassy or consulate in Antarctica.

If you need U.S. consular services when in Antarctica, contact the closest U.S Embassies/Consulates in Argentina, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and South Africa. 

From outside the U.S., call 1-202-501-4444 to speak with a U.S. representative.

Furthermore, government resources in the Antarctic Region are committed to the Antarctic Program (USAP).

Private expeditions should be self-sufficient and are encouraged to carry adequate insurance coverage against the risk of incurring financial charges or material losses while in the Antarctic.

The National Science Foundation, as manager of the USAP, reserves the right to seek, in accordance with international and domestic law, recovery of all direct and indirect costs of any such emergency search and rescue.

The Antarctic also includes island territories within the Antarctic Convergence, says the National Geographic Society

Most of the islands and archipelagos of Lesser Antarctica are volcanic and heavily glaciated.

The islands of the Antarctic region are the South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands, all claimed by the United Kingdom.

Peter I Island and Bouvet Island, claimed by Norway.

Heard and McDonald islands, claimed by Australia.

And Scott Island and the Balleny Islands, claimed by New Zealand.

Jan 16, 2023 • 5:21 pm CST
U.S. CDC Peru 2023

The U.S. Embassy in Peru recently confirmed the Government extended a 30-day State of Emergency in selected areas of Peru starting January 15, 2023.  The affected areas include the departments of Cusco, Puno, Lima, and the province of Callao.  

The province of Andahuaylas in the department of Apurimac, the provinces of Tambopata and Tahuamanu in the department of Madre de Dios, the district of Torata, and the province of Mariscal Nieto in the department of Moquegua are included.  

Some national highways are affected, including the Pan-American Highway as well as the Apurimac-Cusco-Arequipa roadway.

For additional details, please see the complete Supreme Decree.

The Embassy suggests U.S. citizens in Peru avoid crowds and demonstrations, comply with instructions from local authorities, and enroll in STEP to receive alerts and messaging from the U.S.  Embassy in Lima.

And for in-country assistance, visit the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru, at Avenida La Encalada cdra, 17 s/n, Santiago de Surco 15023, Lima , or contact +51-1-618-2000 and [email protected].

From a health perspective, the U.S. CDC says to check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your healthcare provider at least a month before your trip to Peru to get vaccines or medicines you may need.

Jan 15, 2023 • 11:57 am CST
WHO Influenza Reporting Jan. 2023

Since influenza is an airborne virus, efforts to avoid catching the flu depend on your proximity to an infectious (sneezing) person. While this logic is simple to say, what reports can a person trust to make virus avoidance decisions in 2023? 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Influenza Update N° 436, most countries of North America indicate influenza activity decreased while others were stable or continued to increase.

The WHO finding was supported by the recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report issued on January 13, 2023, that stated seasonal influenza activity continues but is declining in most areas, with specimens testing positive for influenza in clinical laboratories decreasing in all regions. 

Elsewhere around the globe, the WHO reported:

In Europe, overall influenza activity continued to increase, with influenza positivity from sentinel sites remaining above the epidemic threshold at the regional level.

In central Asia, influenza activity increased with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominant, followed by influenza B viruses.

In Northern Africa, influenza detections increased among reporting countries with all seasonal subtypes detected. And influenza activity remained low in tropical Africa, with detections of all seasonal influenza subtypes reported. However, activity increased in some countries in Eastern Africa.

In Western Asia, influenza activity decreased overall with all seasonal influenza subtypes detected, though increased activity was reported in some countries.

In East Asia, influenza activity of predominantly influenza A(H3N2) viruses remained low overall among reporting countries but with increases reported in Mongolia and the Republic of Korea. 

In the Caribbean and Central American countries, influenza activity of predominantly influenza A(H3N2) viruses decreased overall but remained elevated in Mexico.

In the tropical countries of South America, influenza detections were generally low. However, influenza positivity was at a moderate level in Ecuador.

In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity decreased in Argentina and Chile to low levels and remained low elsewhere.

In Southern Asia, influenza activity remained low, mainly due to decreased activity reported in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In South-East Asia, detections of predominantly influenza B remained elevated due to continued detections reported in Malaysia.

Before visiting these areas, the CDC suggests speaking with a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to ensure you are appropriately protected from influenza. 

In the U.S., access to flu shots remains abundant, as over 157 million vaccines have already been distributed and are generally available at most clinics and pharmacies.

Jan 14, 2023 • 5:42 am CST
by Arek Socha

The World Health Organization (WHO) today called on countries to take urgent measures against measles outbreaks which are on the rise, with nearly nine million children having missed vaccination against the killer disease in the last two years.

Measles outbreaks are declared when the number of cases reported in an area is higher than expected.

"The strong political commitment, determination, focused and concerted efforts, and community support that marked our efforts for polio elimination are now urgently needed to stop and prevent measles outbreaks and accelerate efforts to eliminate the disease," said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, in a media release on January 13, 2023.

Measles and rubella elimination is a flagship priority program of the WHO South-East Asia Region. Both are vaccine-preventable.

Between 2014 and 2021, the Region recorded a 73% reduction in measles deaths and a 64% reduction in measles cases.

Five of the 11 countries in the South-East Asia Region – Bhutan, DPR Korea, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste - have eliminated measles, and two countries - Maldives and Sri Lanka - have eliminated rubella as well.

In addition, governments have been administering two doses of measles vaccines as part of their childhood immunization program, and some are rolling out mass vaccination campaigns.

However, as the pandemic arrived, measles vaccination coverage, which had reached an all-time high of 94% coverage for the first dose and 83% coverage for the second dose by 2019, declined to 86% and 78%, respectively, in 2021.

This inaction left about nine million children unvaccinated for measles.

And around 5.3 million children are partially vaccinated against this highly infectious disease.

"The decline in vaccine coverage, and interruptions and delays in immunization and surveillance activities due to the pandemic, leaves the Region susceptible to large outbreaks and off track for the 2023 target of measles and rubella elimination," the Regional Director added.

"All countries have been taking several initiatives to revive and resume childhood immunization coverage and surveillance activities that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic," Dr. Khetrapal Singh concluded.

The U.S. CDC says measles is highly contagious, with about 90% of people who are not protected will become following infected exposure to the measles virus. 

The CDC's Top 10 Measles Outbreak Country list was updated on January 13, 2023.

International travelers can check CDC's Travel Health Notices to search for measles or other issues that may affect travelers' health. During 2022, the CDC issued various measles-related travel alerts.

Jan 12, 2023 • 5:25 pm CST
by Nitsa Trabelsi

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it joins the Republic of Uganda and the global public health community in marking the end of the Sudan Ebolavirus outbreak in Uganda.

Forty-two days, or two incubation periods, have passed since the last case of Sudan Ebola was reported in 2022, marking the official end of the fifth outbreak in Uganda, which had started in September.

In addition, the CDC confirmed entry screening and public health monitoring of travelers to the United States who have been in Uganda in the last 21 days would end on January 11, 2023.

The U.K. also launched airport screening for Ebola in November 2022.

“I commend the Government of Uganda, local health workers, and global public health partners who worked to end the country’s Ebola outbreak,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., in a press release.

“I also want to thank the CDC staff on the front lines in Uganda and worldwide who worked countless hours to accelerate an end to the outbreak.”

The CDC confirmed it would continue supporting the Ugandan Ministry of Health in Ebola surveillance, infection prevention and control, and response activities to help ensure rapid detection and response to future cases and outbreaks.

Jan 11, 2023 • 3:38 pm CST
by BobSpicer

Situated in the Caribbean Sea, Grand Cayman is the westernmost of the three Cayman Islands. According to residents, three is a magic number.

When two is few and four is much, three islands are always just right, is a local saying.

And based on recent announcements, the U.S., Canadian, and U.K. governments agree with that saying.

For example, on January 10, 2023, the U.S. Department of State issued a low-level travel advisory for the Cayman Islands.

And if U.S. citizens need assistance, they must visit the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.

As the Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory, the U.K.'s Foreign Travel Advice recently confirmed there are no government requirements or limits on public gatherings in the Cayman Islands.

Since there's no formal British diplomatic or consular representation, local authorities deal with all requests for emergency assistance.

From a health perspective, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in November 2022 there are no health notices currently in effect for the Cayman Islands.

Furthermore, all vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors have been permitted to enter the Cayman Islands without additional documents since August 2022.

Travelers are not required to:

  • Apply for a Travel Declaration
  • Present a negative COVID-19 test
  • Show proof of vaccination
  • Wear masks

The Cayman Islands is conveniently about one hour flight south of Florida and is easily accessible via nonstop service from most travel hubs in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

George Town is the capital city, helping thousands of visitors enjoy their vacation. Besides seasonal hurricanes, the Cayman Islands is the place to relax in 2023.

Disclosures: This article is not paid content. 

Jan 11, 2023 • 1:30 pm CST
U.S. TSA airport screening

According to today's announcements, World Health Organization (WHO) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) officials again recommend airline travelers wear face masks while flying.

During a media briefing, Catherine Smallwood, WHO senior emergency officer for Europe, stated, "Passengers should be advised to wear masks in high-risk settings such as long-haul flights."

"This should be a recommendation issued to arriving passengers where there is widespread COVID-19 transmission."

The ECDC reported today the following recommendations apply with immediate effect for flights arriving in the EU from China: 

  • pre-departure testing for passengers on direct and indirect flights,  
  • wearing of medical face masks or respirators on board the aircraft for both passengers and crew,
  • enhanced cleaning and disinfection of aircraft serving these routes,
  • wherever possible, the vaccination status of crew members should be considered before assignment for duty,
  • random testing may also be carried out on a sample of arriving passengers,
  • wastewater should be monitored at airports with international flights and aircraft arriving from China to monitor the level of infection and detect any new variants.

These ECDC measures were defined in a way that should not introduce any flight delays or compromise flight safety. 

While there is ample debate on the value of wearing face masks in the open air, numerous studies support mask-use when in closed settings, such as an airplane.

And the WHO Director-General's remarks at the media briefing on January 11, 2023, included, "And we continue to call on all people to take appropriate precautions when necessary to protect yourself and others."

"You may not die with this disease (COVID-19), but you could give it to someone else who does."

Globally, nearly 2.9 million new COVID-19 cases and over 11,000 related fatalities were reported for the week ending January 8, 2023.

However, the data represents a reduction in weekly cases and fatalities of 9% and 12%, respectively, reported the WHO today.