An email in Spanish has been doing the rounds about a "new" yellow fever requirement to become effective on October 1, 2008. We have been unable to find any "Memorandum 089-DE/0091-DGS/MS" from the Panama Ministry of Health (MINSA) and none appear in the Ministry of Health (the usual self-congratulory press releases but no list of updated telephone numbers where to ask for information) or Official Gazette (lack of publication is a cause of action for an illegality suit) websites. The only mention of an October 1 deadline is in La Prensa (not known for strict fact-checking) when in Sept 26 they report extended hours for their Corozal vaccination facility..
Without need for the Memo to be true, under Article 10 of Law 47 of 2007, MINSA already has FEMA-type powers since December 7, 2007 to impose vaccination requirements on all foreign and local travellers. The rest of the information in the Spanish email is a compilation of factually true WHO warnings peppered with MINSA contact data (Corozal is written as "Corosal" - classic sign of a hoax).
The truth is that the Health Ministry at Corozal has been giving out the World Health Organization (WHO) yellow fever vaccination for travellers going to countries such as Brazil who have an actual requirement for vaccination coming from a tropical zone of countries mentioned in a WHO memo. Panama is included in the list of "yellow fever" countries but ironically the requirement can be circumvented by flying to Brazil via Miami, which is outside of the yellow fever zone.
MINSA has always recommended the yellow fever vaccination for travellers going to the Darien province. Having the vaccination still makes good common sense in a tropical country.
These are the La Prensa press item and the Spanish email about the unconfirmed memo.