Yellow fever vaccine now available in Gisborne
“The yellow fever vaccination requires a very nuanced assessment of the traveler and it’s best done well in advance of leaving."Dr Fergus Aitcheson
Yellow fever vaccinations are available in Gisborne now that a local GP has achieved the relevant qualifications.
Three Rivers Medical GP Fergus Aitcheson is the only Gisborne GP to have completed the comprehensive post graduate certificate in travel medicine and is now qualified to administer the vaccine.
“In New Zealand, yellow fever vaccine is available from specifically-authorised yellow fever vaccinators only. The authorisation process is overseen by the World Health Organisation,” says Dr Aitcheson.
For the past ten years locals planning travel to countries where yellow fever is a risk have had to leave town to get their vaccination.
But with vaccination now easier to access Dr Aitcheson warns “it’s not a ‘rock up and have your shot’ situation.”
Travellers are encouraged to book a travel medicine consultation well in advance of take-off, leaving time for a risk assessment and any vaccinations needed. Dr Aitcheson says a traveler’s existing physical and medical conditions, age, childhood vaccinations and planned activities are taken into account ahead of any required vaccinations.
“The yellow fever vaccination requires a very nuanced assessment of the traveler and it’s best done well in advance of leaving. Not only is the vaccine expensive and in short supply, it’s a vaccine that has the potential for serious adverse affects. But if you get yellow fever the consequences can be very serious. Obviously there is a bit to weigh up.”
Dr Aitcheson says his interest in travel medicine stems from increasing patient queries. “The reason for doing the qualification, apart from the absence of yellow fever vaccinators locally, was that a lot of my patients were asking travel-health related questions. Like most GP’s I hadn’t had any formal travel medicine training at medical school or since then. ”
Dr Aitcheson says travelers don’t need to be a registered Three Rivers Medical patient to book a travel medicine consultation and or yellow fever consultation. Dr Aitcheson is now working towards a post-graduate diploma in travel medicine focusing on tropical diseases, and refugee and migrant health.
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