Travel Vaccines: The Big Poke
Don’t Forget to Add Travel Vaccines to Your Pre-Trip Budget!
When setting our original pre-trip budget, we planned for items like travel clothing/supplies, backpacks, and a nice camera but we really did not consider how significant the cost or time commitments would be for our travel vaccines. As you can see below, depending on where you are traveling and what you choose to get before you travel, the cost for one person can be as high as $2,000 (before submitting to benefits if applicable). It is also important to note that certain countries require proof of certain immunizations (like Yellow Fever) if you are entering their country from a high risk one.
Here is a summary of some of the major vaccines to consider getting before you jump on your first flight and what we decided to get. Quick word of warning, I am not a physician! So although I go through the immunizations and give my thoughts, consult your travel health care provider. Also, the costs are in Canadian dollars. One last point, some travelers choose not to receive many of the vaccines and have never had any problems, and although it is true that the chances of contracting these diseases are quite rare, if you are unlucky enough to become sick in a foreign place, you are going to think back and wonder why you did not just cough up the money in the first place. It is a lot like travel insurance for your body! Another way to put it, many people drive without their seat belt and never have a problem, but if you have ever been in an accident (I have) you’ll be thankful you decided to wear one that day!
Even if you have a great drug plan which covers most preventative vaccinations (50% to 80% coverage depending on the plan) the travel consultation is not covered and is expensive.
Cost: $140 for a couple, $70 single
Used to prevent Travelers Diarrhea, Cholera, and “Delhi Belly”. Alyse and I each took this at the beginning of November, about a month before our Mexico Wedding.
Cost: $80 each
Vaccinated for: 3 months per dose for the first dose and the booster lasts for about 6 months.
Luckily Alyse received this vaccine before we headed to Cuba about 8 years ago. I hadn’t received mine so I ended up receiving a combo HepA/Typhoid vaccine for $110.
Cost: $65 each
Vaccinated for: Life
Alyse and I both received this vaccination when we were in high school so we did not need to receive this one.
Cost: $40 each
Vaccinated for: Life
Alyse and I both received this vaccine. As noted above, I received a combo Hep A/Typhoid shot.
Cost: $50 each
Vaccinated for: 2 Years
As you may or may not have read already, many travelers choose not to receive this vaccine. Their rationale, it is expensive and not common enough to warrant getting it. Even our physician said that many people choose not to get it, and that it was our call. This one is recommended for people spending a lot of time in rural areas and sleeping on farms by wildlife, like pigs. Alyse and I chose not to get this one.
Cost: $220 each
Dosage: 2 shots, First at Day 0, next at Day 28
Vaccinated for: 5 years
Seeing as Alyse and I would be spending extensive time in malaria zones, like Africa, India and parts of Asia, we decided to definitely need to move forward with these pills. We decided to go with the more expensive option (Malarone) as Doxycycline can have a lot of negative side effects like yeast infections in women and extreme hallucinations while dreaming.
Cost: Varied depending on choice of drug. Ranges for $10-$50 cents per pill for Doxycycline to the more expensive Malarone at $5 per pill.
Vaccinated for: Depending on the drug, you would take before, during and after exposure to high risk area.
Another one of those immunizations that many people choose not to receive. Reasons? Cost and the fact that it doesn’t prevent rabies it merely gives you more time to reach a medical center to begin your rabies shots in the event you are bitten or scratched by a monkey, dog, cat or bat. If you plan on spending a lot of time in India or Southeast Asia, especially in rural areas where access to a hospital or medical center with the Rabies vaccine is more than a day away, I would recommend getting this one. Also to note is that the immunoglobulin that is given to you in the first shot, is hard to come by in a lot of countries around the world, so that factored into our decision to get this vaccine.
Cost: $220 each shot, $660 Each.
Dosage: 3 shots, First at Day 0, next at Day 7, next at Day 30
Alyse and I received this as children, but do require a booster shot. Luckily in Canada this combo injection is free at any health clinic.
Vaccinated for: Polio: Life.
Some countries (look up with the CDC or Health Canada) require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination before you can enter, which makes this vaccine a must for certain travelers. The risks are low of getting infected if you are in mostly urban settings, but if you spend time in the jungle or rural areas you are at higher risk. Spread by mosquito bites, long sleeves and pants and DEET 30% are recommended to help prevent infection.
Cost: $135 each
Broad Spectrum Antibiotic (Cipro)
This is essential. Whether you are prescribed Ciprofloxacin or Arythromyacin, you should take a broad spectrum antibiotic. You are almost guaranteed to pick up some bacterial issues during your travels.
Hopefully this helps you not only figure out which vaccines you need to get before your round the world trip but also how much you’ll need to budget for this often times forgotten about expense.
Ross & Alyse