Travel Vaccinations for Dummies

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Travel Vaccinations

Travel Vaccinations for Dummies

Travel Tips

At the moment, I’m one of those dummies. But as I go through the process myself, I intend to share what I’ve learned with you! First off, to find out what shots you need to visit a certain country, check out the CDC Travel Site and click on a country.

TIP #1:

Travel shots can add up quickly. To save some money, don’t go to your regular doctor. They might be nice & friendly, but they are also usually the most expensive. In the USA, you can get cheaper vaccinations if you go to your local county’s Health Clinic. It might feel like you’re waiting in line at the bus station, but they shoot you up with the same exact goodies, at a discount!

TIP #2:

If they don’t give you one, make sure to ask the doctor for a yellow vaccination card. It keeps track of what you’ve got, and when you need more. Some countries may want to see this with your passport before they let you in.

TIP #3:

You don’t have to get all your shots in your own country. Depending on where you’re traveling to, you should be able to get some of the vaccinations when you get there. Just make sure you take into account the time it takes for the shots to become effective. This tip is geared more for people who are taking an extended trip to many different countries.

The key is to go to a Red Cross center, or the Consulate. This ensure’s you’re getting the real thing, and not just motor oil in a syringe. It may not be possible to do this everywhere. Do a little internet research and make a call or two to make sure, but if you can get them in a cheaper country, it will save you a ton of money. The same shots can be 70%-90% cheaper! Let’s go Obama! I want cheaper meds here too! :)

Shots I Received in the United States:

Hepatitis A #1: $40
Hepatitis A #2: $40
Tetnus: $30
Typhoid: $66

Travel Medications:

You don’t need to buy travel medications in your home country, chances are high you’ll find them easier and cheaper in the countries you’re traveling to.

For Example:
The general antibiotic Ciprofloxacin can be bought over the counter almost everywhere. Same with malaria prevention medication like Doxycycline. Don’t bother packing your own, it will just take up space. Buy it there when you need it.

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  1. Hey Matthew, i had a question about Doxy. Did you ever take it as an antimalarial?
    I am going to be travelling around SEA for a year and was prescribed doxy as an antimalarial but since sun sensitivity is it’s biggest side effect, i dont think i want to take it given that i will always be in the sun. What have you taken or done to prevent malaria?

  2. I work for a travel medicine clinic in Vancouver, BC Canada. The reason we recommend not buying your malaria pills and shots in the developing world, is that there often are counterfeit medications circulating that at the very best are just ineffective and at the worst are actually dangerous to you. When getting shots or meds on your trip (for cost or transporting reasons), make sure that you go to a reputable clinic/pharmacy. Most vaccines should be stored between 2-8 degrees Celsius – often a challenge for locations where power supply is sketchy. You also want to make sure that the needles used to administer the vaccine are sterile – you don’t want to pick up Hep B, HIV or other blood borne diseases through unclean needles.
    Your embassy might be able to recommend a reputable clinic. In locations where a lot of expats live, you often find western style health facilities serving the expats.
    Just some thoughts to consider before going for the cheapest meds – sometimes you get what you pay for.

  3. “No one living or traveling long-term down here actually uses them.” This is exactly what I’m wondering about.

    According to the nurse, we’re looking at malaria meds for our time in Tanzania, Sri Lanka, and perhaps Thailand/Laos. That could be literally months of popping pills.

    Thanks for the encouragement about the local pharmacies. I’m so dubious about western medicine’s insistence that the only safe route is purchasing in the US.

  4. We’ve been sorting out our situation for our 2012 RTW. Just spent an hour with the travel nurse last week; I’m definitely wondering about the malaria meds. I’m thinking it’ll be much better to try to get them in Spain before heading to South Africa rather than carry them through S. America for three months…

    And Yellow Fever? Thinking about getting that in Buenos Aires as we’ll be living there for a month.

    Thanks for the input. Decisions, decisions…

    1. I initially bought Malaria meds for Central America, then got rid of them. No one living or traveling long-term down here actually uses them.
      If you know you’re going to be in a hot-spot, it’s easy to pick some up at the local pharmacy in whatever country you’re in.

  5. I am currently planning my 1st RTW trip and was actually wondering about shots. Thanks for the tips. I will be doing just that. I am still a bit confused as to what shots to get for what countries but Im sure Ill figure it out when the time comes.