If you're moving to Colombia, you should get all of the recommended vaccines for Colombia. Unlike tourists who are in Colombia for a short period of time, expats risk of exposure to various illnesses is much greater due to length of stay, travel to more parts of the country and exposure to different foods. In addition to measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Additionally, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Rabies is also recommended for many groups. Depending upon where you will be living or traveling, preventative malaria medication and yellow fever vaccinations may also be recommended.
Routine Vaccinations Colombia
"Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot," said the CDC.
"CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Colombia, regardless of where you are eating or staying," wrote the CDC.
"Consider for most travelers; recommended for those who might be exposed to blood or other body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident)," wrote the CDC. Regardless of your lifestyle, expats cannot rule out the possibility of a medical emergency that exposes you to Hepatitis B.
Malaria in Colombia
The CDC recommends malaria for, "All areas <1,700 m (5,577 ft). None in Bogotá, Cartagena, and Medellin. (CDC map of Malaria Risk Areas in Colombia)." Information and recommendations from the CDC about medications that prevent and treat malaria.
"Recommended for the following groups: Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that might bring them into direct contact with dogs, bats, and other mammals (such as adventure travelers and cavers). Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers). Long-term travelers/expatriates visiting remote areas. Children, because they are considered at higher risk; consider lower threshold for vaccination," wrote the CDC.
The CDC recommends the typhoid vaccine for expats in Colombia. They wrote, "Recommended for most travelers, especially those who are staying with friends or relatives; visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water; or prone to adventurous eating."
Yellow Fever in Colombia
There is a risk of yellow fever in Colombia. "[Yellow Fever vaccinations are] Required if arriving from Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Uganda and ?1 year of age and for travelers who have transited >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YF virus transmission. Recommended for all travelers ?9 months of age except as mentioned below. Generally not recommended for travelers to the cities of Barranquilla, Cali, Cartagena, and Medellín (CDC map of Yellow Fever Risk Areas in Colombia). Not recommended for travelers whose itineraries are limited to all areas >2,300 m (7,546 ft) in elevation, the department of San Andrès y Providencia, and the capital city of Bogotá. Note: Yellow fever vaccine availability in the United States is currently limited. Travelers may need to schedule appointments well in advance and visit a clinic some distance away. Find the nearest clinic that has vaccine."
Expat Health Insurance in Colombia
Expats interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.