What is it with me and yellow fever vaccinations? First Nigeria, then Zambia, then Zanzibar. And now Thailand…I just can’t seem to learn my lesson.
I believe I made this recommendation three years ago and never followed it, but let me make it again: just carry your vaccination card with you when you travel.
When I arrived in Bangkok from Addis Ababa, I proceeded to passport control, where I was promptly asked for proof of yellow fever vaccination.
“You are arriving from Ethiopia. You need a vaccination! Go to Health Ministry!”
I turned around and walked back into the arrivals hall and found the health ministry desk, which was swarming with people…including others who sat around me on the Ethiopian flight. At least it wasn’t just me.
Thankfully I was just in transit in Ethiopia…I hoped that would be sufficient to get a waiver. It is not that I would have been unwilling to pay 700Baht (about $20) to be able to enter Thailand. Rather, I did not want an unnecessary shot. I still had the picture of my vaccination card at least, but figured that would be a tougher sell than in Zanzibar.
When I reached the front of the desk, I matter-of-factly stated that I was merely transiting Addis Ababa from Ethiopia and therefore did not require a vaccination. The man at the desk simply nodded and stamped my arrivals from.
Problem averted. I had no trouble clearing passport control and was soon on my way to the hotel.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know where my vaccination card is now. But I’m going to find it and keep it with me wherever I go. You should too.
And if you’re flying into Thailand, ensure you are aware of the Kingdom’s yellow fever vaccination requirements.
image: Dvortygirl / Wikiemdia Commons