It is possible to get a free yellow fever vaccine in Medellín, Colombia. Wether you are a resident of Medellín or a traveller passing through on your way to the Amazon, there is a doctor’s office that gives out 40 free yellow fever vaccinations every day.
UPDATE September 2019: Please see Constanze’s comment below for up-to-date information regarding Yellow Fever vaccines in Medellin.
How to Get the Yellow Fever Vaccine for Free
Only the first 40 people who show up to The Doral Consultorios in Medellín will get a free yellow fever vaccine. Here are some tips to follow in order to ensure you get your free yellow fever vaccination.
1.) Know Where You Are Going
The Doral Consultorios is located at Cra. 45 #50-48, Medellín, Antioquia. I had a bit of trouble finding the entrance, so I’ve included the street view of the office below. The entrance is between the two shops and says EL DORAL CONSULTORIOS above the door.
The parent company of The Doral Consultorios is Prevnm as you can see by the light green sign on the second floor of the building.
2.) Get There Early!
The doctor’s office opens at 7:30 AM every morning except Sunday. I made the mistake of arriving at 7 AM, and there was already a long line of people waiting outside. Because of my late arrival, I did not get my yellow fever vaccine for free—more on this below.
I would suggest to arrive as early as 6 AM to ensure that you get your vaccine. The earlier you arrive, the sooner you will get your vaccine. For example, if you are 39th in line, you may end up waiting close to 7 hours to get your vaccine since each administration of the vaccine takes around 10 minutes per person.
3.) Come Prepared with Documents
You must bring proof of future travel to a yellow fever risk area in order to get a free yellow fever vaccine. This could be a copy of a plane ticket or a bus ticket. A free vaccine will not be given if you cannot prove your travel or you plan to travel to an area that does not recommend the vaccination.
You also need to bring identification. I used my passport, but a license should work fine. I would suggest bringing a copy of this document to expedite the process.
Can I Pay for a Yellow Fever Vaccine?
Yes. This is what I ended up doing. Because I was not among the first 40 people in line at The Doral Consultorios and I did not have proof of travel to an area with recommended yellow fever vaccine, I had the option to pay for the yellow fever vaccine.
The yellow fever vaccine cost me 67,000 Colombian pesos (COP) which is just under $20 USD. I paid cash on the spot and got a receipt. The price of a yellow fever vaccine in Colombia is significantly cheaper than in the states. If you itinerary allows for it, I would recommend waiting until you arrive in Medellín to save some money on the vaccine. Please note that it is recommended to get the yellow fever vaccine 10 days before you travel to a risk area.
Even though I was near the end of the line, I did not have to wait all day to get my vaccination. I believe that priority is given to paying patients, so this is something to consider if you don’t have a lot of time.
Is It Safe to Get a Yellow Fever Vaccine in Medellín?
Yes it is safe. My experience with getting a yellow fever vaccination in Medellín was a pleasant one. Prior to this, I have never been to a doctor outside of the United States.
I found the doctor’s office to be clean and well kept. The staff was friendly and organized. I did not speak any Spanish, and the doctor and nurses didn’t know any English. We used the Google Translate app on my phone to communicate without problem.
It was also reassuring to find that the Medellín government recommends The Doral Consultorios for yellow fever vaccines in Medellín.
For me personally, I got my yellow fever vaccine in preparation for my slow boat trip down the Amazon River to Iquitos.
Have any questions about getting the yellow fever vaccine in Medellín? Let me know in the comments below, and I’d be more than happy to help you out!