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Please check the following list of required and recommended vaccinations. It is important to not leave vaccinations to the last minute since some are given in several doses and because some vaccinations are not easily available in Panama.

There are also some preventative health measures you can take for diseases that do not have vaccinations.


Highly recommended.

Please note: New Sanitary Measures for the Entry of Travelers or Tourists

Yellow fever vaccination - Required

Yellow fever vaccinations should be administered at least 10 days prior to travel to an area of possible exposure. Panama requires current yellow fever vaccinations for the visitors coming from the following countries:

South America

Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela


Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leona, Sudan

Yellow fever vaccination - Recommended

A yellow fever vaccination is recommended for people planning to visit eastern Panama Province, Darién Province and the Guna Yala and Emberá territories. Visit the CDC page on  yellow fever and malaria for current information on their status in Panama.

Rabies vaccination - Recommended

You are required to have a rabies vaccination if you are going to work with bats or other mammals that can transmit this fatal disease. A typical vaccination schedule is four weeks in length, so begin at least one month before your visit. Rabies vaccinations are not readily available in Panama. If you are already vaccinated, check with your medical professional about when you should have your next booster shot.

Please note:

Unvaccinated visitors to and residents of Panama who have been bitten by bats or other potentially rabid animals in Panama have had to travel to other countries to receive proper post-exposure prophylaxis treatment.

Tetanus vaccination - Required & recommended

Tetanus vaccinations are required STRI visitors who are working with bats, other mammals, or will be spending time in the field. Tetanus vaccinations are recommended for all visitors. Tetanus vaccinations are good for up to 10 years but booster shots are administered following potential exposure, such as being cut with a rusty nail.

Routine vaccinations

Make sure your routine vaccinations are current. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and your yearly flu shot. Check this CDC link for more information on routine vaccinations.

Hepatitis A & B - Recommended

It is possible to be exposed to hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Panama, regardless of where you are eating or staying. Hepatitis B is also a risk. These injections are administered in three- and two-shot doses over six and 12 months, respectively.

Typhoid vaccination - Recommended

Typhoid can be transmitted through contaminated food and water. Typhoid fever vaccination is administered in a single injection.


Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that may be prevented with prescription medicine taken before, during and after your trip. Malaria risk in Panama is generally low and only in rural areas of the provinces of Bocas del Toro, eastern Panama, Darién, and the Guna Yala and Emberá territories. If you plan to travel to these areas of Panama or outside of Panama, you may want to bring along malaria pills. East of the Panama Canal, there is a known drug-resistance to Chloroquine. It is best to ask your doctor for their recommendation of medication. The best defense is to wear long sleeves and pants in mosquito-heavy areas. Using Deet insect repellant will also help to prevent mosquito bites. There is little to no malaria risk in Panama City or in the Canal Zone where most of our research sites and facilities are located. Visit the CDC page on  yellow fever and malaria for current information on their status in Panama.

Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika

Dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses are present in Panama. As of mid-2017, there were no commercially available vaccines for chikungunya or zika. There is a vaccine for dengue but it is not widely available. (Read the 2016 World Health Organization position paper on the dengue vaccine for more information.) The best prevention against these vector-borne diseases is to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while in the field, sleep in enclosed areas with mosquito nets, and to use an insect repellant that includes Deet. Zika in pregnant women is linked to birth defects, which makes it of special concern. Please consult the World Health Organization’s zika page or the CDC’s zika page for more information on the disease. 

Emergency numbers

STRI Security

Please report emergencies to STRI security

+507 212.8911
+507 212.8211

Police and Fire Depts

Police 104
Fire Department 103

Panama’s Health Ministry

Centro de Salud Metropolitano
Corozal, Los Ríos, Panama

Please note:

Under some circumstances, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) can provide vaccinations for rabies and yellow fever. Vaccinations are not always available at MINSA so please try to obtain all your required shots before coming to Panama.

+507 512.6666
​+507 512.6619
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