If you are considering applying to serve as a volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps, one of your main concerns during the application process may be whether you will pass the medical screening required by the Peace Corps. In recent years, the order of the application process has shifted and now the medical screening takes place after an applicant receives their invitation to serve as a volunteer. This can limit the amount of time that you have to complete your medical paperwork before you are scheduled to leave for service. One way to speed the process along is to make sure that you have your immunizations up-to-date.
Get Boosters and Immunizations You Would Normally Get
The U.S. Center for Disease Control has helpful information regarding suggested vaccines. Any time before your medical paperwork is due, you should consider making sure that you are up-to-date with all of the suggested vaccines for your age. If you do not know if you were vaccinated as a child or are unable to prove that you were vaccinated, you may be asked to complete an anti-body test or get vaccinated a second time before you can leave for service.
By making sure you are current with your vaccines before your paperwork is due, you can spread out the cost and distribution of vaccines over the year before you leave for service instead of having to get several vaccines at once in the month before you leave.
Consider Age-Based Immunizations That Are Usually Considered Voluntary
Some vaccines, such as the HPV vaccine, may not be required for Peace Corps service. However, if you are approaching the age limit for the vaccine and think you might want to get it, you should make sure to get vaccinated before you leave for service. The vaccine may not be available in your country of service and you may miss the age window for the vaccine if you do not get it before you leave.
Wait to Get Country-Specific Vaccinations Until You Get a List From the Peace Corps Medical Office
Although you may want to get a jump on required vaccinations, you should not start getting country-specific vaccinations, such as ones for yellow fever, until you get a list from the medical office. This is because many of these vaccines may be offered free-of-charge by Peace Corps staff once you are in your country of service.
Making sure that you are up-to-date with your vaccines and that you have access to your vaccination records can make the medical clearance process easier and faster. Contact a medical group, such as the Rocky Mountain Family Physicians, for more information.