BootsnAll indie travel guide

FAQ – Immunizations

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How Do I Decide What Shots To Get?

Certain countries require certain immunizations in order to enter the country (though they will not always check), so if you are 100% positive you are going somewhere that requires shots, you should probably get them. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has up-to-date information on its website for every country on earth. This can be a great source of information about each country’s health risks and requirements, but keep in mind that these sorts of government departments specialize in being overly cautious.

Are There Any Shots That Everyone Needs?

There isn’t a universal list, but generally speaking, travelers need both Hep A and B shots to go most places in the developing world. Those are about as close to definites as you get. After those two, everything else tends to be regional, and you should check into each individual country.

What’s Up With Rabies? There Seems To Be A Debate.

There certainly is, and it really comes down to cost. Rabies vaccines are extremely expensive, costing over $1000. The reason travelers shy away from the rabies vaccine is because it still doesn’t prevent rabies. Even if you have gotten the shot, if you get bit by an animal, you’re still going to have to go to the hospital to get another series of shots. The vaccine essentially buys you time. If you plan on volunteering, working, or traveling in really remote areas with high concentrations of rabid animals, it’s probably a good idea to get it. If not, you may want to risk it. But it’s up to each individual traveler.

Where’s The Best Place To Get Vaccines?

It all depends on where you reside and what your insurance policy is. Be sure to check with your insurance company as you might be surprised that they cover a few of the necessary shots. Start with your primary care doctor. Tell him or her your plans, and he or she will inform you of the shots required and recommended. Check prices with your primary physician, then start calling around. There should be travel doctors somewhere in your city, so check with them. Check with city and county health clinics. Shop around just like you would for anything else.

Can You Wait Until Hitting The Road For Vaccines?

It’s possible to get vaccines in other countries, which can be a good idea, particularly for Americans. It will most likely be cheaper in more developing countries; however, you may need a certain vaccine to enter those countries to begin with. Be thorough in your research if you decide to go this route.

For more information on travel insurance, be sure to read travel insurance interview.

I’m Extremely Confused About Malaria Meds. Help Me Out Here.

If traveling to jungle areas of South America, different parts of Africa and the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, you’re most likely going to need malaria meds, which are extremely expensive in places like the US. Most have to be taken daily and are charged by the pill, so if you will spend a lot of time in malaria zones, that’s a lot of pills and a lot of money. Some choose to risk not taking malaria meds at all, but that’s a personal call. It is possible to get malaria meds in other countries for much cheaper, so consider this option. Boots has a massive section on malaria, so be sure to check it out. Note:If you are a woman on birth control, be aware that certain malaria meds make the pill ineffective, so plan ahead!

How Far In Advance Should I Start Worrying About Vaccines

It’s important to start your research and doctors visits early on in the planning process, more than 6 months in advance if possible. Hepatitis shots are given in a series 6 months apart in order to be most effective, so it’s important not to procrastinate on this one.

Once you get your immunizations taken care of, it’s time to turn to RTW travel insurance, another aspect of long term travel that no one likes to research and talk about. It’s confusing, frustrating, and can be expensive, but it’s another necessary part of travel.

For more in depth information about immunizations, plus a checklist of what you should do when, be sure to read this article.

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