One of my top priorities when I arrived in Panama was to get a yellow fever vaccination in preparation for my upcoming travel in Africa.
This proved to be problematic as there is not a lot of information online, or in the city, on where the vaccine is available; only select clinics provide it.
Now that I’ve personally gone through the process, I thought I would put some specific instructions together for anyone who needs to do the same. As with any medical procedure, be sure to consult a medical professional and be up to date with the relevant travel advice for the region in which you are travelling.
If you’re looking for travel health information and advice check out the Bemused Backpacker website. It's run by a nurse and also has an online travel clinic service. Although I’ve not used the service I enjoy reading the articles on travel health.
Region Metropolitana de Salud
Finding your way to the clinic is easy once you know where it is. The centre is open from 8am to 3:45pm with a break for lunch between 12pm and 1pm.
Getting there and back
You can take a bus from Albrook Bus Station or get a taxi. A taxi will cost you $5 each way from Albrook and a bit more from wherever you are staying. The bus is just $0.25 each way, but you will need a MetroBus card.
The address is:
Region Metropolitana de Salud.
Detras del SPI
Catching the bus
When catching the bus you can take either the Ciudad de Saber route or the Miraflores route. The Ciudad de Saber route is going to be a slightly longer ride on the way to the clinic. I also saw more Miraflores buses leaving the terminal, but you can safely take whichever leaves first.
You can catch either route back and they’ll both be the same distance on the return journey to Albrook.
At Albrook station both routes have their lines located all the way at the end of the terminal, near the Movistar signs. If you get lost or need some help just ask someone in a fluoro green vest.
The stop to look out for is called “Corazon”. I used Google Maps to help me figure out where to get off, but some of the buses have an automatic announcement with each stop. You can also ask the driver to let you know when to get off.
The bus stop to get back should be right across the road.
The Metrobus website is actually quite helpful and can show you the route that you’ll be taking. It also has general information on getting around the city.
Finding the health centre
Once you get off the bus there should be a street that you can see with a sign for Servicio De Proteccion Institucional or SPI.
Keep heading up that street through a suburban looking area and you will eventually get to the Region Metropolitana de Salud. There should be a couple of signs along the way, so you know you’re heading in the right direction.
There is a guard booth at the entrance and as you walk down the driveway you should see a building on your left and a building a bit further down on your right.
Head to the building on the left where you can see a window. The entrance is towards the rear of the building. This is where you will show your passport and pay the $5 fee for the vaccine.
Once you’ve paid and gotten your receipt, head to the building that was on your right. Walk into the ground floor area and head to the second door on the left. There are some chairs along the wall at the side, but you should be able to head right in.
This is where you will get your shot. Have your passport ready to hand to the nurses, so they can fill out your yellow fever certification. This process should take no longer than 5 minutes. I got there just after 1pm and there were only 2 other people who came in after me.
That’s it! Hopefully this makes it super easy for you to get your yellow fever vaccine while in Panama City. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.