So after much procrastinating I finally got myself to the travel vaccination clinic in Montreal today and ticked another thing of my list Stuff To Do Before The Adventure Begins!. My first piece of advice to anyone planning on getting vaccinations is..
Start Your Vaccinations early!
Many of the vaccinations require a series of vaccinations weeks or months and if you are lazy and leave it to the last minute like I did, you will end up with either not being fully vaccinated or having to plan a mission to a clinic while overseas to get secondary or third vaccinations. While this may make for an interesting story me attempting to navigate and communicate in a vaccination clinic in Guatemala, its something I could have gotten done before I left. If I wasn’t procrastinating.
So I walked into the clinic this morning and was greeted by ominous giant maps that covered the walls showing all the Malaria and high infection areas throughout the world, It wasn’t very comforting to see most of Latin and South America covered in red. Also all the writing explaining it was in french which I can barely understand which made it seem even more scary because all I could make out was the statistics. I nervously took a seat and after struggling to fill out my form listing the giant list of countries I was visiting in alphabetical order for the nurse, I grabbed a few handy pamphlets on Malaria, Altitude sickness and water contamination and started browsing through them.
While they were very informative I was sitting there filled with terror thinking God no wonder people get scared of travel! It makes everything out to sound so scary and that everything is out to get you, This feeling wasn’t helped when I had the nurse going over all the things I shouldn’t touch including draft beers and a multitude of other things.
I eventually got to my shots. To start with I was lucky that I had atleast kept up to date with Tetanus vaccine so I that was one less needle stabbing that I needed to get 😀
Vivaxim (Hepatitis A #1 and Typhoid) $115 (Not Sure on individual cost of second Hep A vaccine)
First one I got was a cocktail of my Typhoid vaccine and the first of 2 Hepatitis A vaccines.The second I can’t get till 5 months later in May 2013,
Engerix-B (Hepatitis B #1) $40 x 3 rounds
The Second I got was for Hepatitis B and was only the 1st of 3 vaccinations that I need get to become fully vaccinated, The second one is a month later and the third is 5 months after the second.
This is the one where If I hadn’t have been lazy I could have got the second in Montreal before leaving. However it’s not the end of the world, Apparently I still have a 30% resistance with one and I can get the second one a couple of weeks into my trip from somewhere to boost it to around 75% from somewhere. Lets just hope I don’t get it before then 😉
Yellow Fever $130
The third and final vaccination I got was for yellow fever, After signing a giant waiver I got my shot and luckily it was only a once off and im now vaccinated till 2022 woot!
Rabies $180 x 3 rounds
I did originally have the intention of getting a rabies vaccination, but after talking to the nurse and her explaining that I needed 3 rounds at $180 a pop I decided that i’d take my chances against the wild monkeys and animals of Latin America 😛
I also found out from my pamphlet that if you get scratched or bitten even with the immunization you still require 2x post-exposure immunizations. Where if you haven’t received the complete course of pre-exposure immunization you need to get 5x post exposure immunizations as well as rabies immune globulin Which all sounds all very… Not fun but then again if you have the extra cash it could be a good option especially for people are planning on spending a lot of time around animals.
Other Doctor Prescribed Medication
While I was at clinic I had chance to book an additional appointment with a doctor to get a prescription for Malaria tablets, However after researching the side effects of Malaria tablets (increased skin sensitivity etc) and the advice I got from a couple of friends I decided that:
- I Didn’t want to be taking Malaria tablets for an extended period of time over my trip.
- I Didn’t want to spend money on a stack load of malaria tablets.
I opted instead to get some Insect repellent with 30% Deet and I will try to be careful in high malaria prone area’s. I’m not a medical professional and am not saying you should do the same, its everyone’s choice so you have to weigh up the options.
Prescribed Diarrhea Medication
I didn’t even know this even existed before this morning, I thought you just got it at the pharmacy, but apparently according to the nurse the difference between the prescribed medication and the pharmacy over the counter stuff is that the over the counter stuff as she said it just acts like a cork where as the other prescribed one helps fight fever and other effects of diarrhea In the end I opted to just go with the over the counter medication, I figure if I find that I really need it I can always go to a clinic while i’m traveling.
So all in all it wasn’t so bad I only had to get 3 needles, I curiously asked the nurse what is the max they give someone in one visit and she said 8 (2 in each arm and 2 in each thigh) So i’m glad I didn’t have to get that many done :D. The three was bad enough especially seeing as going and doing my regular boot camp training that evening with lots of push ups and band pulls probably didn’t really help make my arm feel any better haha.
Oh and after reading the contaminated water brochure I bought some Pristine Water purification system bottles, Even though I plan to stick to bottled water I figured it wasn’t a bad Idea to have some so I could purify some water if I really need to.