Anyone planning to visit East Africa requires a yellow fever vaccination and the certificate to prove it, in order to enter countries, like Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Fortunately, getting vaccinations in Korea is a super quick, affordable, and easy process. Before we visited Tanzania and the Serengeti, we got yellow fever vaccinations at the National Medical Centre in central Seoul. I’ll describe the process for you in as much detail as possible.
Mosquitos absolutely love me. Or rather my blood. It doesn’t seem to matter how many other tasty veins are around, they all zone into me and I end up with 10 bites, while everyone around me gets off scot-free! Agri likes to call me his “insect repellent,” because they don’t bother with him and his furry legs when I’m around.
I despise mosquitos with a vengeance. A close second in the “despising category” is being forced to do things I don’t really want to do. Finding out that I HAD to get a yellow fever vaccination to enter Tanzania, didn’t make me happy. The fact that yellow fever is transmitted by the female version of the blood sucking monster made it even worse.
Avoiding mosquito bites in endemic areas is one of the main ways to prevent yellow fever. So unless I walk all over Tanzania wearing a head to toe bugsuit, that’s not going to happen.
To be fair, yellow fever isn’t happy stuff, with the most serious cases ending in multi-organ dysfunction and death. Still, these deaths are rare and usually among the elderly. And in fact, people have died from getting the vaccine too!! 🙁
Getting vaccinations in Korea
However, since we didn’t have any choice in the matter, off we went to the travel clinic at the National Medical Centre or 국립중앙의료원 in Korean. We called ahead to make sure we could get vaccinated there, but appointments are not really necessary. You can just walk-in.
The process is a little confusing because you have to visit a few different locations within the hospital, but all the rooms are basically attached to the main lobby, so there’s not much distance to cover. I’ll try to explain as clearly as possible.
Getting Vaccinations in Korea: Yellow Fever
It’s been 48 hours since we had the vaccination, and so far, so good. No side effects (though incubation is 3-6 days). We’ll see, I guess.
Getting vaccinations in Korea: Typhoid Fever
We also ended up getting the vaccination for typhoid fever. It’s a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated by the feces of an infected person. Gross. Wash your hands already! But since we’re adventurous eaters while traveling, it seemed wise.
For this shot, we had to take a number at the big counter to pay (not the bank), and go through the whole doctor consultation – injection room – waiting process again. Still, the whole thing only took another 20 minutes. And the cost for this one was 15,000 won each.
National Medical Centre Travel Clinic
The National Medical Centre International Travel Clinic provides counselling about required and recommended immunizations for international travel. They suggest visiting at least 2 months before any trips planned to foreign countries.
They provide vaccinations for: yellow fever, Hep A & B, Typhoid, Tetanus/Diphteria/Pertusis, Meningococcal, MMR, Varicella, Polio, Japanese Encephalitis, Influenza, Pneumococcal, HPV, and Influenza. However, all vaccines are not necessarily in stock, so it’s best to call in advance if you’re getting a specific vaccination in Korea.
Address: 245 Eulji-ro, Gwanghui-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 – 12:00 and 13:30 – 16:00.
The closest subway station is Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, on Line 4. Take Exit 13.