Exotic Trips Resume at Canary Islands Vaccination Centers
Increased Travelers Opt for Summer Trips
Sunday, June 18, 2023, 01:00
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After a period of inactivity, the Canary Islands have seen a resurgence in exotic trips, leading to increased activity at the international vaccination centers. These centers, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Health area of the Government Delegation, have noticed a significant rise in travelers. “During the last three years, people practically did not travel, and right now we are seeing more travelers than before the pandemic,” explains Dr. Pedro Blanco, the head of the Foreign Health service at the International Vaccination Center of Las Palmas. The months of May, June, and July witness a surge in visitors as Spaniards prefer to travel during the summer.
Despite the increase in travelers, the vaccination centers in the Canary Islands have managed to avoid the overwhelming demand experienced by services in cities like Madrid or Bilbao, where waiting times can stretch up to three months. “Here, we can schedule appointments almost immediately, usually within two days at most,” says Dr. Blanco. Prior to the pandemic, the Foreign Health consultations in the capital of Gran Canaria received nearly 5,000 travelers annually seeking advice for safe travel.
Dr. Blanco’s mission is to provide care for Spanish citizens or residents in Spain who are planning to travel to remote countries where they need protection against certain diseases. “In the Spanish vaccination calendar, we do not have vaccines for diseases such as rabies, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, cholera, encephalitis, dengue, or yellow fever. These are rare or less common diseases that occur in those countries, and Spanish citizens must take precautions when traveling to such destinations,” explains the doctor.
Exotic Destinations and Preferred Vaccinations
Among the preferred exotic destinations for travelers from the Canary Islands, Southeast Asian countries are gaining popularity. “Thailand is no longer considered an exotic destination. People visit Thailand like they would visit Benidorm,” comments Dr. Blanco. “Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, beyond Bali, are also highly frequented destinations,” adds the health advisor for travelers. Additionally, many tourists from the Canary Islands venture into sub-Saharan Africa to explore the natural parks of Tanzania and Kenya.
In South America, Peru, with its famous Machu Picchu, stands out as the star destination for islanders. Beyond leisure trips, many emigrants visit the International Vaccination Center before returning to their countries of origin to visit their families. Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, and Maghreb countries are popular destinations for these travelers.
Vaccinations and Health Advice
At the International Vaccination Center in the capital of Gran Canaria, six vaccinations are administered based on the traveler’s destination. However, there are many more prophylaxis recommendations and health advice to prevent diseases commonly found in exotic countries. “This center provides health advice consultations for travelers and administers certain vaccines,” explains Dr. Pedro Blanco.
Specifically, the center offers vaccinations for meningitis (tetravalent), yellow fever, rabies, polio, and Central European encephalitis for both children and adults. Other vaccinations are recommended but are ultimately the traveler’s choice. Depending on the destination, antimalarial prophylaxis may also be advised. However, Dr. Blanco emphasizes that it is equally important to educate travelers about preventive measures and the health risks associated with their destination. Brochures are provided, covering topics such as water and food safety, mosquito-borne diseases, and altitude sickness.
The recommendations provided by the International Vaccination Center depend not only on the destination but also on the traveler’s planned activities and length of stay abroad. “A person going to Costa Rica for a week has different needs compared to someone traveling to Congo for four months. We tailor our recommendations accordingly,” admits Dr. Blanco.
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