What Travel Vaccines Do You Need to Travel the World?

What travel vaccines do you really need?
I really wanted the answer to this question to be an easy one, complete with an easy to follow list of what vaccines we need to be covered no matter where we go.

Actually, I’m lying. I wanted the answer to be none because needles terrify me. But, alas, that was not the case. And the answer has proven a bit complex. You see, when you know all of the countries you are planning to go to, then the answer is easy. When your destinations are uncertain…well, then it stands to reason that you are met with an uncertain amount and specificity of vaccines. There are some countries we are sure we will be visiting, like Thailand. So, we can easily look up what vaccines we need for Thailand. But what about Africa? Are we going to travel there? And which countries? Do we need to get yellow fever vaccines? What about malaria pills? If we end up not going there, will the vaccines be worth the expense now?  How much of this really do we need to know now and how much will we be able to take care of on our travels?

So many questions – Some Answers

There is a Travel Clinic that does consultations, where maybe we could get some questions answered, but there are three problems with that. One, they are only open Monday- Wednesday 9AM – 4PM and by appointment only. (Really? cause travelers don’t have day jobs?) Two, the initial consultation alone is $75 and three, they don’t accept insurance, so any vaccines will be paid for out of pocket (there is a possibility of of sending our receipts to our insurance and have them reimburse us, but they didn’t sound confident that was going to happen). I know that not all vaccines will be covered, but we’re paying for insurance now, so I’ll be damned if I’m paying for something that is already covered.

There is a Travel Clinic that does consultations, where maybe we could get some questions answered, but there are three problems with that. One, they are only open Monday- Wednesday 9AM – 4PM and by appointment only. (Really? cause travelers don’t have day jobs?) Two, the initial consultation alone is $75 and three, they don’t accept insurance, so any vaccines will be paid for out of pocket (there is a possibility of of sending our receipts to our insurance and have them reimburse us, but they didn’t sound confident that was going to happen). I know that not all vaccines will be covered, but we’re paying for insurance now, so I’ll be damned if I’m paying for something that is already covered.

Then I found that our local pharmacy also does travel vaccine consultations for $60 with way more availability around the “working folks” schedule. I stopped by to see about getting a few questions answered and they were really helpful. They agreed to see us both for $80  instead of the $120 it would have cost if they charged us individually. We’ll take it!  And they will be able to bill our insurance for the vaccines we’re covered for. Score!

travel vaccines

That’s the upside. The downside is that even though our insurance will cover some vaccines, it won’t cover all of them. Because of course, travel is a luxury. If you can afford to travel you can afford vaccines, right? The recommended list so far is:  Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Malaria Pills, Hepatitis A&B, Tetanus, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rabies. If we get all of these and none are covered by insurance, we’re looking at spending over $1,300 EACH for vaccines alone. (YIKES!)

What’s next?

Next steps are to fill out the extensive paperwork to give back to the pharmacy then they will be able to schedule our series of shots. (Jake, hold me! I’m scared!) and we’ll decide on what vaccines we feel will be really important to get now and what things we can manage later. Like I hear that it’s very easy to get malaria pills outside the US.

This travel-leg is probably the most unsexy, and (for me) a slightly terrifying part of our planning. I’ll be very relieved when it’s all over with!

 

What about you? What kind of vaccines have you had to get before international travels?

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