Travel clinic Barbados
Travel health and vaccine advice for Barbados

Barbados, the Easternmost island in the Lesser Antilles, is truly unique. Unlike its neighboring islands which mostly have volcanic origins, Barbados is a quite flat limestone formation. Surf the huge waves crashing along its Atlantic coast… Visit Bridgetown, the World Heritage capital city… Get lost in sugarcane fields hiding luxurious old plantation houses and lush tropical gardens… Stop in a local distillery and taste one of the finest rum in the Caribbean… And be sure not to miss the renowned Oistins fish fry nights! This fishing town gets alive every weekend, offering its visitors the best fresh fish and seafood in Barbados.

INFORMATIONS ABOUT HEALTH

Risk of Zika in this Country. Learn More >> We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, it is impossible for us to make changes on a daily basis. For the most current travel health recommendations, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.

WHAT VACCINES DO I NEED FOR BARBADOS IN 2021

The Government of Canada and the CDC recommend the following vaccines for travelling to Barbados in 2021: Traveler’s Diarrhea, Hepatitis AHepatitis BRabies, Flu, COVID-19, Typhoid fever.

BARBADOS – RECOMMENDED VACCINES

The Yellow Fever Vaccine A proof of vaccination against yellow fever may be required upon entry in to this country. Some travellers may not be eligible to receive this vaccine. Please enquire with your health care professional regarding your specific details. It is important to note that the vaccine should be administered at least 10 days prior to your departure. For further information, please consult with the World Health Organization (WHO) website: https://www.who.int/ith/ith-country-list.pdf
Hepatitis A Recommended for all travelers.
Tetanus – Diphteria – Pertussis Vaccine Tetanus: In exceptional circumstances (eg, stay in a region where access to health care is limited), for a person aged 18 years or older, 1 dose of DT may be given if 5 years or more has elapsed since the last dose. Otherwise, one booster dose at the age of 50*. Pertussis (Whooping Cough):  1 dose is recommended for pregnant women, for every pregnancy, regardless of immunization history and the interval since the last dose (betwen week 26 and 32). *Only applicable for Quebec.
Measles – Rubella – Mumps Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1970, if not previously given.
Transmission, Symptoms and Prevention – Rabies For travelers at high risk of animal bites or being involved in activities with bats. Clients who plan to visit remote areas may consider receiving this vaccine. Important to note the pre-exposure rabies vaccine is administered in 2 doses with one week interval between doses. Post-exposure vaccination is always recommended, even for those previously vaccinated.
Flu – Influenza Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing or by touching infected surfaces. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly. Vaccine is recommended 14 days prior to departure.
Routine vaccines (dCaT, Polio, Meningococcal, Shingles, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis B, HPV, MMR & Varicella) Recommended for all travelers
Causes, Symptoms & Treatment – Typhoid fever 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”
Hepatitis B 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).
Turista – Traveler’s Diarrhea (ETEC) Talk to your health care professional about the risks and precautionary measures to take, as well as the Dukoral® vaccine. Important to note that the Dukoral vaccine is an oral vaccine given in 2 doses, recommended at least 2 weeks prior to departure.
Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and/or Zika There are many illnesses that are transmitted via mosquito bites and unfortunately we do not have vaccines to protect us against most of them. It is important to inquire with your healthcare professional regarding the specific risks and the different illnesses presently in circulation.

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Antibiotics Traveler’s DiarrheaCiprofloxacin, Azithromycin or Suprax.

MEDICAL CARES

Medical facilities in Barbados are of good quality and provide excellent health care, especially for basic needs. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown is one of the best hospitals in the Caribbean. It is home to renowned general practitioners and specialists. The Bayview Private Hospital is a very good establishment as well. It has a decompression chamber in case of scuba diving accidents. 

In case of emergency, call 511. But be aware that ambulances in Barbados are slow and poorly equipped.

The medicines found in Barbados come from all over the world. It is possible to find some drugs sold in the United States for a very low price. Collins Ltd and Grant’s are among the best pharmacies on the island. But it is always safer to bring your own medical supplies.

SECURITY ABROAD

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. There are also incidents of violent crime, including armed robbery and sexual assault.

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CANADIAN AMBASSY

Emergency services

Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 211
  • medical assistance: 511
  • firefighters: 311
 

FOOD AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.

INSECTS AND ILLNESS

In some areas in the Caribbean, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria, West Nile virus and Zika virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round.  It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.

MALARIA

There is no risk of malaria in this country.

ANIMALS AND ILLNESS

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.

PERSON-TO-PERSON INFECTIONS

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

MEDICAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES

Medical facilities in Barbados are adequate. There is one public hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, one private hospital, the Bayview Hospital, and several private clinics across the island.

A hyperbaric chamber is located at the Barbados Defence Force base on Needham’s Point.

Some clinics and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for medical services.

Police and ambulance response can be slow.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

SEWAGE ISSUES

The South coast of Barbados, between Hastings and St. Lawrence, has experienced sewage issues. Overflows of raw sewage may still occur with little or no warning affecting the water quality at some beaches in the area, especially during the rainy/hurricane season.

  • Monitor local news to obtain the latest information
  • Follow the advice of local authorities