Saturday, December 15, 2012

Getting that Yellow Fever Jab in Bangalore

[The procedure for getting the yellow fever vaccine in Bangalore appears to have changed since I posted this. Thanks to "Anonymous" in the Comments section for providing the updated procedure (as of Jan 2014). Here is what he/she says:

"The vaccine costs 400/- INR now. 
1. Get your appointment on Mondays, preferably before noon, by calling  080- 22210248 for an appointment for Wednesday (if Wednesday is a public holiday, the jab is administered on Thursday).
2. Carry a copy of your travel tickets & your original passport. 
3. Go to the center by 9:30 AM. Google Maps gets you there perfectly. You have parking as well. 
4. Your name is called out at 10:00 AM. Works very efficiently. Fill in the simple form, go to the room next door, pay the fees and you get a receipt. 
5. Come back with the form & the receipt. Your yellow card is issued with a number on it. Fill in your name, passport number, DOB & mandatory requirements. 
6. Go to the administrator & your number is called out.
7. Get the jab - if you are in by 9:30 AM, you can exit by 10:45 AM. 
Works very efficiently if you are organized. Extremely punctual & courteous, if you have all your paper work."]

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My original post in Dec 2012 about the procedure:

In preparation for my trip to East Africa, I realised it was mandatory for all travelers going there (regardless of whether you're headed to mainland Tanzania or Zanzibar) to get a yellow fever vaccination and certificate. They will ask to see your certificate at your port of entry. If you don't have it, you will be directed to the inoculation room at the airport before you can clear immigration.

There was hardly any information online about getting the shot in Bangalore. So here’s me doing my good deed for all those trawling for information about “yellow fever vaccination in Bangalore” on the internet.

While some private hospitals (like Manipal) do administer the vaccine (I’m not sure how much they charge for this), a certificate from them is not recognized.

The only place that can issue that all-important certificate (and administer the vaccine at a subsidized rate of Rs 260) is the Public Health Institute.

I groaned when I realised this. Government organisation. And we all know how any Indian government institute is going to be. The website will tell you that the vaccines are given only every Wednesday – for which you need to make an appointment over the telephone beforehand.

So I tried calling – but each time, either nobody would pick up (big surprise there?) or even if somebody did, they’d say all the appointments were “full” (only 10 appointments are given for each Wednesday) and to call back later.

That’s when a doctor neighbour who’d gone through the rigmarole himself gave me this invaluable piece of advice on how to go about it.

1. Go to the Public Health Institute in person first thing Monday morning (9 AM) along with your passport.
2. Wait in queue there (there were about three people already waiting when I reached).
3. When the guy in charge finally shows up (around 10:30 AM), he’ll open his register and ask each person when their date of travel is. This is where you FIB. If your date of travel is even 10 days away, he’ll ask you to come back the next week. So tell him your date of travel is about a week away – he will just have to give you the appointment (and they don’t ask to see your tickets!)
4. The guy will enter your name and passport number in the register and give you the date and time of your vaccination appointment.
5. On Wednesday, show up well in time with your passport and two disposable syringes. They have their own syringes as well – a lot of people did not have their own syringes – but do you really want to risk it?
6. Once the guy in charge has arrived, he’ll cross-check your name and appointment in his register and give you a form and the yellow fever booklet to fill in before sending you to another office to pay Rs 260 (take exact change to save time).
7. With the payment receipt in hand, you will now have to wait your turn as the doctors call out each name in the order entered in the register.
8. The shot is a trifle painful (intra-muscular), but it’s valid for ten years, so that’s a blessing.
9. The doctors will sign and seal your certificate/booklet and you’re free to go.
10. Wait outside in the parking lot for the inconsiderate morons who’ve parked their two-wheelers haphazardly, blocking your exit.

I didn't spend too much time waiting around for the shot. In the time that I did have to wait, I found myself conversing with two nuns headed to Congo.

I also had time to observe this braggart who was first in queue for the appointment. He looked dressed for Africa already – a safari hat atop his bald head and a long handlebar mustache. Was he headed on a hunting expedition? “Look at my passport,” he declared, rifling through the pages dramatically to show his neighbour, who looked on quietly. “I have been to so many countries, you know!” Obviously not pleased with his neighbour’s lack of adulation, he turned to the third person in queue and brandished his passport. “I have traveled everywhere!”

Okay, wise guy. Obviously, “everywhere” does not include Africa and South America – two continents that require you to have the yellow fever vaccination which is valid for ten years.

On the day of the vaccination, the guy had changed considerably – the hat and handlebar mustache were gone. What was even more conspicuous in its absence was his bluster. The wind had been let out of his sails and he sat quietly, glumly staring at the floor. I think somebody was mortally afraid of injections. *Smirk*

Public Health Institute (Opposite: S.J.Polytechnique college),
Near Atria Hotel/ K.R Circle, Bangalore-560001
Telephone Number: 080-22210248

(Landmark: Maharani’s College. The quickest route I found from the centre of town was from Vittal Mallya road, cutting through Cubbon Park and coming out onto the crazy roundabout at Nrupathanga Road)

14 comments:

  1. When I whinge next time, if ur around,I may not get a room full of 'that NRI' type eyeroll

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi there,

    This info appears useful. i'll be travelling to East Africa in June. My passport has a Bombay address. u think they might be particular about that? Bombay mein passport kiya to udharich vaccinate karaao types? This might seem like a dumb question, but better to clarify first than end up cursing my luck later.

    What's your opinion?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey...the 1st comment was posted in Dec 2012. Things have changed a lot. I mean, there is no stock of the vaccine in entire south India.

    I have struggled a lot in the past 1 month. I will be travelling to colombia on 17th May.
    Whenever i try i get the same answer, 'Call after 10 days' and its been more than a month now :)

    Finally i get an answer "if you can bring the vaccine we will administer and give you the certificate" But i tried all my contacts to get it but couldnt find it anywhere.

    I called all the vaccination centers in India (http://www.dhtsservices.com/yellow-fever.php) and i could find it only in Mumbai:
    (Sahar International Airport
    Below Airport Flyover ( Near Black berry Rest )
    Vile Parle
    Mumbai – 400 099
    Tel : 26828991 / 26813200

    But it was not easy. They administer monday to friday (excluding weekends and public holidays). Only 70 people are given vaccine in a day.

    Im from Bangalore and just to get the vaccine and the certificate I went to Mumbai. Reached on Sunday evening. Just wanted to check out place around 6pm. I was shocked to see there were already 11 people waiting in queue for Monday 8am vaccination. With no other option i stayed there. Slept outside the gate along with the other people (there were ladies, kids) By 4am there were about 90 people in the queue. Keep in mind you have to be in the first 70 to get the vaccine the same day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This one's for the anonymous comment above. Thanks for the update. In that case, i'll stick to my original plan and get it done in Bom.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @The Fernweh Frau: The address on your passport doesn't matter. You can still get the shot regardless.

    @Anon: The trick is not to keep calling them on the telephone. As I mentioned in my post, that does not work. They keep giving excuses (if they even pick up the phone). The trick is to go there in person at 9AM in the morning on Monday. They will register you for the vaccine for the following Wednesday. People did that here in Bangalore, as late as May 2013, so I know the process I followed in Dec 2012 still holds good.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I got my Yellow Fever Vaccination some time ago. If calling on the land line fails, please try this number: (+91)9448884723.
    And try a wheedling tone. It worked for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for sharing your invaluable advice - it helped me a lot. However, the process itself is painful. IMO they should let the private hospitals administer the drug and only worry about providing the certificate.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the valuable information, since you last posted the fee structure has changed, it costs 400/- INR now. Get your appointment on Monday's preferably before noon by calling 080- 22210248,for an appointment for Wednesday (if wednesday is a public holiday, the jab is administered on Thursday)
    Carry a copy of your travel tickets & your original passport.
    Go to the center by 9:30AM, Google Maps gets you there perfectly, you have parking as well.
    Your name is called out at 10:00 AM, works very efficiently, fill in the simple form, go to the room next door, pay the fees you get a receipt.
    Come back with the form & the receipt, your yellow card is issued with a number on it, fill in your name, passport number, DOB & mandatory requirements.
    Go to the administrator & your number is called out, get the Jab, if you are in by 9:30 AM you can exit by 10:45 AM.
    Works very efficiently if you are organized.
    Extremely punctual & courteous, if you have all your paper work.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been planning to travel to Africa and this pain of a yellow fever vaccination came up. As usual the public health institute is least bothered. But after some research i found this place called international health clinic who say that they can provide me with a vaccination and who certification for 6000 INR. So yea i'd say this is hassle free...just wanted to share what i found

    cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for your information. I am calling to the number 080-22210248 but nobody is picking phone since yesterday Morning. Not sure what is the issue, is there any other way to get in touch for an appointment. Please advise. Thanks !

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Anon: Just do what I did & turn up there in person first thing Monday morning (passport & tickets in hand) and ask for an appointment. I remember I had the same problem trying to contact them over the phone. Either nobody would pick up or someone would pick up and say all appointments were booked. Going there in person worked like a charm.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, this post helped me a lot.
    Also, for people who don't have their tickets done, you can book a temp ticket on Emirates.com (While booking just choose 'Pay at Emirates office in person in next three days' instead of 'Pay by credit card') You get an email with an itinerary, which works to show as ticket proof for the Yellow Fever appointment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi how was this done, do you need to pay anything?

      Delete
  13. Is the original passport mandatory for getting vaccinated as mine is with the South African authorities for Visa?

    Basically I need the vaccination as I am travelling via Kenyan airways.

    Also this International clinic is asking too much money ( just milking the system i guess)

    ReplyDelete

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