Travel Vaccination - Trip to the doctor #1

On Monday I attended my first appointment with a Travel Nurse which I arranged free of charge at my GP Practice. The nurse needed to know the following:

    1    My departure date

    2    My travel destinations

    3    The approximate length of stay in each destination

    4    The type of accommodation I will be staying in

    5    The type of activities I plan to take part in (particularly anything that would involve going off the beaten track or being in contact with animals i.e. jungle treks)

    6    My general health status

Once we had covered all of the above and reviewed my immunisation history, the nurse advised that I needed a Tetanus booster (apparently this needs to be topped up every 10 years) and Hepatitis A booster. These were both available to me FREE of charge.

The other three recommended vaccines based on my personal Travel Itinerary were: 

  • Rabies (£180)
  • Hepatitis B (£120) 
  • Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine (£50)  
  • Malaria (Tablets Not Vaccine - various prices)

The nurse and I agreed that I would have the two free boosters done that day and that I would come back the following week to have the additional (payable) ones. We also discussed Malaria as many of the places I plan to visit in South East Asia are at risk. There is no vaccine available for Malaria, instead you must take precautions to avoid Mosquito bites by using suitable clothing, bug repellant and sleeping nets as well as taking anti-malaria tablets. 

Here in the UK two types of Malaria tablets are available over the counter at pharmacies or chemists and do not require a prescription, these are chloroquine and proguanil. The main differences seem to be the dosage, frequency and length of usage. (For more details please follow link at the bottom of the page) 

I have not yet decided which ones to go for yet, I will be consulting the pharmacist before making that decision. 

My travel nurse recommenced the following website to me for further information (It is specifically aimed at UK residents, however, every country will have an equivalent)

Although I would prefer not having to deduct £350 from my budget, I would rather be safe than sorry. It is a personal choice, but, having done my research, parting with my money seems like a small price to pay in comparison to potentially dying from an acute inflammation of my brain, because a dog thought I looked tasty…or because of any other disease the aforementioned vaccines protect you from. Of course there are many other vaccines available and one may choose to have more or less than the above, this is simply what I feel comfortable with.

This means I have a second appointment next Friday for round #2 of Vaccines….Can’t wait.