Health & Immunizations
For four decades, promoting health and safety has been a top priority for Westcoast Connection. We are traveling with multiple layers of health and safety measures developed in consideration of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical experts. Given the evolving global health environment, our health and safety protocols may change as we consider new guidance and recommendations from health agencies. WCC continues to monitor, adapt and stay well-informed. Having operated safe and successful programs last summer, our team is busy building on those experiences to make this upcoming summer exceptional.
Each participant is responsible for verifying the health conditions of their destination. Should parents have any concerns about the program location, you are encouraged to conduct research through the U.S. State Department, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization or other sources.
We recommend you follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and consult with your physician for current immunizations and medication required for travel overseas. These recommendations may change from time to time.
We will continue to work with our partners, local, state, federal and international agencies, our infectious disease physician and within our own Health Protocols Committee to assess the specific protocols needed to help keep our participants safe and healthy. Our experience operating programs in this environment has taught us that flexibility is the key component to success.
Prior to program departure:
- If the destination you are traveling to requires a certain type of test, vaccine and/or Covid-19 vaccine/booster within a certain time frame, we will inform you of the requirement closer to departure.
- It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure their teen joins the program healthy and without any illnesses to help keep all participants as healthy as possible.
- Participants must complete any destination-specific documentation required by local authorities.
During the program:
- Health Screening – Upon arrival at the start city, participants will be given a health screening conducted by our staff regarding their general health, medical history, Covid-19 symptoms etc.
- Testing may be required – Due to local regulations or specific vendor needs, if you display symptoms, when crossing borders, entry to attractions/activities etc, or to return home. All testing will be at the participant’s expense (for all suspected illnesses including strep, the flu, Covid-19, etc.).
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Participants will be asked to wear a mask at any time symptoms warrant including running noses, a cough, etc.
- Enhanced Hygiene – In an effort to reduce the possibility of sickness, all participants must be prepared to practice the following as needed and to the extent possible: frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer and no sharing of water bottles, personal items, etc.
- Supplier Protocols – Some suppliers may have their own protocols in place including but not limited to temperature checks, Covid-19 questionnaires, PPE, etc. All participants are required to adhere to all supplier protocols.
WCC does not require participants and staff to be fully vaccinated unless the destination the teen is traveling to requires specific vaccines (this may include any vaccine including Covid-19). However, WCC recommends participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at the time of travel including a COVID-19 booster shot, if eligible.
Destinations and local laws may have different requirements and definitions of what constitutes full vaccination and may change those requirements on short notice. This may include requiring additional wait time after the full series of doses and a booster before considering someone fully vaccinated. For international programs, local laws will apply, so it is important that you confirm you meet the requirements for the countries on your program. Participants who are not considered fully vaccinated may be prevented from traveling to certain destinations. We will inform you of vaccine requirements for your destination closer to departure.
High Altitude Destinations
For programs in Ecuador and Peru, we travel to higher altitudes and recommend those who have previously had difficulty adjusting to higher altitude consider this factor in choosing a program.
Check with your physician that you are up-to-date on what are often referred to as routine vaccines for influenza, chickenpox, polio, MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) and DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis also known as whooping cough). There have been increased episodes of measles internationally so it is important to keep current. We also recommend that your tetanus be up-to-date.
Mosquito Borne Disease Including Malaria
In some destinations, mosquitoes may transmit viruses and diseases including malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and Zika fever. This is not an exhaustive list and varies by location. Please consult with your own travel physician for specific concerns in relation to other health conditions you may already have. The best protection against mosquito-transmitted illness is to wear long sleeves and long pants and to use insect repellent with DEET. Click here for Information on Zika or other insect-transmitted viruses.
For certain destinations, the CDC recommends anti-malaria medication and Yellow Fever immunization. The CDC site should be consulted for the most up-to-date information and please speak with one of our Travel Specialists about any of your concerns.
Australia • Canada • Costa Rica • Ecuador & Galapagos • Europe (Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, & the United Kingdom) • Fiji • New Zealand • Peru • South Africa • Thailand • USA • Vietnam