While planning a trip outside Nigeria last year, I discovered the Yellow Card was another important document for travelers, especially for those traveling within Africa beside International passport and visa.
Since it was a vaccine, my first thought was I could get it from any health point, alas, I was joking. The vaccine was not readily available as I thought and could only be administered at Nigerian Port Health Service Centers.
This reality put some fear in me. I mean everyone in Nigeria has one tale on the other regarding getting relevant documents from government agencies, it is long queues or bad customer services, favoritism, bribery or broad day light corruption. I dealt with all these while getting my International passport, so I was expecting the worse with the yellow card and I postponed that trip.
Now 2021, the yellow card issue comes up again and I decided it was time to face my fear and get it done. Spent days, in fact weeks researching on it, grateful to blogs like Travel With A Pen and Aina Dada, they were really helpful.
Armed with information from my research, I started the process of getting my yellow card. Before I go into all that details, let me talk briefly about what a yellow card is and why it is important.
What is a Yellow Card; The yellow card is The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) created by the World Health Organization to show that travelers have been immunized against yellow fever. According to CDC, Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral diseases present in Africa and South America, the vaccination is a protection against the diseases and the card is a document that says traveler has been vaccinated. You get?
Countries that require yellow card? Ideally, it is advisable that you take the Yellow Fever Vaccine when traveling to any African country, simply because the disease is predominantly in Africa, so better to be safe than sorry. But not all African countries require the yellow card for you to traveling in or out.
Who cannot have the Yellow Fever Vaccine; I would say ask your doctor but based on questions I was asked at the center, there are exemption for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the likes. If you have any questions on this, you can always ask while being attended to.
Now to the question on how to get your yellow card;
- Register online and make payment via Remita; With the link, you can register and pay for your yellow fever vaccine from the comfort of your home or like me, you can register online then visit the closest bank to you with your RRR to make payment. It cost 2200 naira, 2000 for the vaccine and 200 for payment charges, ideally it should have been 161 but the cashier at the bank did not give me my balance. Hence my 2200.
- Print out your receipt; after payment, make sure you print out your receipt as proof of payment. I got my receipt at the bank immediately after payment.
- Photocopy the bio-data page of your International Passport; don’t be like me who went with my International passport but forgot to make a photocopy. I had to make a photocopy at the center which cost 50 naira.
- With your proof of payment and bio data photocopy head to the Port Health Office closest to you. Again don’t be like me jumping from one private hospital to another hoping to get the yellow card there, lol ( I sincerely dreaded going to a government office). I am based in Lagos so the closest Port Health Office to me was at airport road, just beside the toll gate on the way to the International Airport.
- Submit your documents at the counter answer a few health and travel related questions.
- Get vaccinated for yellow fever and polio depending on the country you are visiting
- Collect your yellow card on your way out.
You are probably thinking there should be more details but my dear, it is really straightforward and my fears flew out the window. I mean, I was prepared to spend the whole day at the office but I spent lesson than 30mins there.
I went with extra cash in case I needed to tip anyone, but lo and behold I didn’t spend any extra money at the office. It was a clear case of first come, first serve and there was no crowd as I had anticipated. I was shocked but grateful to have that out of my way.
According to what I have in my card, this vaccination should last for 10 years, before I need to take another, that’s enough time for me to visit 50 countries on my list.
Anyway, I hope you find this helpful as you plan to get yours. In the meantime, guess where I am traveling to next?