UH’s Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine Tackles U.S. Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage

March 22, 2018

Center is only non-profit healthcare provider in Ohio to administer alternative vaccine

UH Clinical Update - March 2018

For international travelers, contracting yellow fever is among one of the most serious health care risks, making prevention a priority. Vaccination prior to travel is the only defense. However, last fall, the yellow fever vaccine supply became depleted in the United States. To address this shortage, University Hospitals’ Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine became the only non-profit healthcare provider in Ohio licensed to administer an alternative, equally effective vaccine manufactured in Europe called Stamaril.

“A colleague of mine who I work with at a government agency told me about the shortage of yellow fever vaccine,” states Carol Scott, a client of University Hospitals Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine who traveled to Kenya in March. “I was worried and couldn’t purchase my visa and plane ticket until I was sure I could get the shot.”

The World Health Organization reported 1,111 cases of yellow fever in 2016. Yellow fever is caused by the yellow fever virus, which is carried by mosquitoes. It is endemic in 33 countries in Africa and 11 countries in South America. Countries where yellow fever is prevalent require travelers to provide proof of vaccination via a certificate in order to pass through customs and enter the country. Travelers only need to be vaccinated once during their lifetime.

Sanofi is the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the U.S. version of the vaccine—YF-vax. Supplies became scarce in September 2017 as a result of manufacturing problems and Sanofi’s relief efforts to revaccinate communities in Brazil (including urban areas), Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo experiencing yellow fever outbreaks.

For international travelers visiting remote parts of the world, being armed and prepared with the right vaccinations and travel advice is a necessary step to ensuring a healthy, enjoyable trip. UH’s Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine provides one-stop shopping for all health care-related travel needs, including pre-travel preventive care and education, and diagnosis and treatment for ill travelers upon their return.

“Only about 40 percent seek pre-travel advice about the risks and preventive medications when traveling to resource-limited countries. With more people visiting foreign countries—including more elderly people, pregnant women, and people with underlying medical conditions—more attention needs to be paid to preventive care,” states program director and Department of Medicine chair at UH, Robert Salata, MD.

“The staff was awesome,” continues Scott. “They gave me pamphlets on typhoid and other helpful information on the ‘dos and don’ts’ for wherever I was traveling. They put me at ease, and I was made to feel very comfortable.”

When UH’s travel clinic first opened in 1972, it was the first of its kind in the United States. Roughly 150 people sought medical services the first year. Today, the number of annual visits is close to 4,500.

Setting UH apart from other travel clinics are its multiple locations, highly-trained physicians who are board-certified in infectious disease, research, pediatric care through University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, and care for foreign visitors and immigrants.

Travel Medicine visits and vaccines are rarely covered by insurance. Payment is expected at the time of appointment, and if paid at that time, a 30 percent discount will be applied. The cost for a pre-travel consult and yellow fever vaccination is approximately $250-300* (or $175-210 with the 30 percent discount).

If you have a patient who could benefit from a pre-travel consult or the yellow fever vaccine, please have them call 216-844-8500. For more information on the University Hospitals Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine, visit http://www.uhhospitals.org/travelmedicine.

 

*Estimated range; final cost depends on total of all vaccines given.

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