Resource Information on Immunizations
Bolivia Andean Pilgrimage
Unfortunately, before visiting Bolivia, you need to get vaccinations. Participants normally ask for advice on what shots they need. We’ve put this sheet together to respond to those questions as you prepare for travel to Bolivia.
Here we emphasize that each participant needs to make this choice under the advisement of his or her own physician. We simply provide this page as a resource to you and your doctor as you make your decision.
Where We’ll Be in Bolivia.
In order to make the best decision about immunizations, you’ll need to know that Yellow fever is important as there have been recent outbreaks in Bolivia and the government has been running a big campaign to immunize everyone in the country. Due to massive internal immigration and movement within the country there have been cases of yellow fever in non-tropical areas where typically you would not expect it, such as Cochabamba and Santa Cruz (where the immersion will take place). One thing to note is that the participants may not be able to complete the full round of hepatitis A and B shots if they haven’t already received these immunizations in the past. The most important is hepatitis A and that first injection provides for 95 percent protection.
Yellow Fever: vaccination is a requirement for travelers going to Yellow Fever risk areas in Bolivia. Santa Cruz and Cochabamba are in that list. Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel. Please check CDC for further information:
There are several recommendations:
Routine: Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/ mumps/ rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc. Booster (every 10 years)
Hepatitis A: Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (Latin America in general) where exposure might occur through food or water.
Hepatitis B: Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission. We will be in a very low incidence area.
Typhoid: Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Tropical South America, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water.
Rabies: Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, hiking, or work. We would recommend the rabies vaccine since Cochabamba is loaded with dogs and there have been rabies outbreaks.
Malaria: Seen in some tropical areas of the northeast, but, not too common. We will not be traveling to areas where there is a known presence of malaria. Use repellant creams or sprays with >20% DEET.
“You are going to have a wonderful experience! Please do not let rumors of extremely rare diseases haunt you. Healthy American travelers like you may pick-up what is called “travelers diarrhea”. There is no special immunization against this hazard. Bring along Imodium and Pepto Bismol, drink bottled water, rest, and let your own immune system do the rest. Prevention is your best weapon. Just follow the guidelines regarding what you put into your mouth, wash hands frequently with soap (bring a liquid antibacterial soap) and water.
- Things to do to stay healthy:
- Get appropriate exercise (walking is great and you can’t avoid it)
- Follow guidelines provided by our guides on food safety
- Drink lots of water (it will be provided)
- Use sunscreen
- Be vigilant when traveling in crowded areas and late at night
- Number 1 cause of death and serious illness for travelers to developing countries
- Careful crossing the street
- If seatbelt is there, use it
- Ask GUIDES about unsafe areas
- Food safety:
-Recommended restaurants are OK. These are the only places that salads are safe.
-Careful of street food and small “out of the way” restaurants.
-Fruit should be peeled for the most part