Yellow Fever Vaccination

On May 3, 2013

Edit June 2014: Check the comments for any current updates or more current blog posts. This post was originally written to update this post on Digital Nomads. Be aware that the hospital may not want to open a new vaccine for a single traveler (see the comments) depending on supplies. This entire process takes an entire day since Plaza España is a long bus ride from the hospital.

In most normal circumstances, it is recommended to get a yellow fever vaccination if going into areas where there is risk of the disease. I was never planning on going into any if those areas so never got the shot. It never even crossed my mind before traveling to South America. The shot is $130 USD if received in the States. In La Paz, Bolivia it is possible to get a vaccination for $60 Bolivianos ($8.57 USD). It is possible to get a vaccination at a pharmacy for almost $300 Bolivianos but I read about a way to get the shot for less and wanted to do the same. Unfortunately the article I read was outdated so I thought I’d write a current version to save people some headache.

The location to get the shot is the La Paz Hospital on the Garita de Lima roundabout near the omnibus terminal. On the second floor near the end if the hallway is the room which is open from 8:00 to 13:30 on Mondays and Fridays. Go in the morning so they don’t complain about opening a new vaccination. The vaccination requires mixing of two solutions before administering which gives 8 vaccinations. To prevent waste they like to use as much as possible. This shot is free and they will give you a Bolivian yellow fever card. If you’re only staying in Bolivia and don’t plan on visiting a Yellow Fever risk country in 10 years (the length the vaccination is good for) then you can stop here.

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To get the international vaccination card requires one more stop. Take a bus to Plaza España southwest of the center. As a commenter pointed out, this is a long bus ride. Ask a local where SEDES is or just walk two blocks west from the southwest corner of the plaza. There is a blue building. The first stop is the main floor at the Caja window. Here you’ll pay the $60 Bolivianos and receive the card. From there they’ll direct you to the third floor (2° pista) to get the card stamped and signed. That’s it!

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In summary:
1. Go to Hospital La Paz on the Garita de Lima roundabout. Second floor. Monday and Friday 8:00 – 13:30. Get the vaccination and Bolivian card.
2. Go to SEDES near Plaza España to get the international card.

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15 Responses to “Yellow Fever Vaccination”

  • Thank you. I will file that in my “Useful things to know” folder. 🙂 Are you going to write a book when you come back? You’re very good at informative writing. Just kidding, I’m sure you’re making things easier for some future South American traveler!

    • It’s super useful for others. I can’t tell you how many different blogs I’ve got tips or ideas from. The more specific the better. I plan on writing a post just about shipping stuff home from La Paz 🙂

  • Sorry to hear about your injury. I hope you amend quickly. I’m impressed that you did not bag the trip and came home. I look forward to hearing about how the trips changes and your continual adventure.

  • Hey!
    Very good info Mark! We needed the vaccination too and remembered you wrote this entry about how to get it while in La Paz.
    Thanks a lot!

  • Hi Mark, thanks this is very helpful. Just a couple of questions.
    1) Do we need to be vaccinated even BEFORE entering the country? I heard that they will check, not sure how true.
    2) How safe is it to be taking needle injections here?

    Thanks, your help will be much appreciated!

    • 1) It depends. Technically yes, but it depends on how you’re getting into the country. Bicycles they didn’t care, but I heard of a bus crossing on the Peruvian side that detained somebody for not having the shot. Nobody I met personally was checked. It’s Bolivia, so if they catch you without a card, they just might be looking for a bribe.

      2) The hospital may have looked drab by American standards, but everything was handled very well. The needles were single-use and packaged individually.

  • Thank you! I guess I’ll have to take the vaccination in my home country then. Too expensive! 🙁

  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks for posting this useful webpage.
    I followed your instructions today and got the vaccination.

    It appears that there is a shortage of vaccine at the moment. The lady told me that they will only open a new vial for children. I was being turned away when a family with 2 kids turned up. I had to wait for them to be done, then there was vaccine available for me.
    So, a bit lucky for me, but worth future visitors hanging around if they won’t do you when you arrive.

    Also worth noting that it’s a long way between the hospital and Plaza Espana.

    cheers,

    • Thanks! I put an update in the post to help anyone else looking for a cheaper vaccine in La Paz. Enjoy your trip!

  • thank so much updated and precise info with the photos

  • Hi all, this morning monday August 3rd, 2015, I tried to follow your useful and LP information to get the yellow fever vaccine.
    On fryday I went to SEDES and they told me the shot can be done at Cruz Verde next to Cruz Roya, at avenida Camacho, in the same square of Mercado Camacho. There they told me they won’t open a vaccine, providing it only to children and the show me a poster were, they said, there were names of hospitals to get vaccination on different days of week. So I went to hospital San Juan Lazareno, but no way there for the same reason, it was late I go back to my hotel.
    This morning, on monday, I went to hospital in La Garita at 8 o’clock, same answer, no vaccination to adults. So I went back to Cruz Verde in av Camacho just to know if they opened a box, but again no way. So I decide to go private and at walking distance in av. 16 de Julio (aka El Prado) I reached Farmacia Gloria. They didn’t have the vaccine, but they called another linked pharmacy and in 20 minutes the box arrived with ice protecting it. It costs to me 409 bolivianos around 60 USD. Not the end….it’s one year that the goverment forbid phamacy shops to inoculate vaccine, so they send me to a Prosalud center, very closed to them, 5 mins walking distance. There they inoculate the vaccine for 10 bolivianos 1,5 USD no waiting at all. So it takes to me a lot of time and stress. But when I went to Gloria all as been done in half an hour.

  • Hey Mark,
    I am traveling to Bolivia in a couple of days and needing to get the YF shot when I’m there.
    I’m wondering whether you might have any idea as to whether this method is still how it can be done.
    Any information or guidance you have would be greatly appreciated!!

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