Vaccinations

What a strange couple of weeks it has been! Our main focus at the moment is the vaccinations…definitely a good idea to get these things sorted early as some of them are in 2 or 3 doses so you need to factor this in to your planning.

There are a couple of websites that I’d definitely recommend having a look at, fitfortravel and NaTHNaC, but these are the vaccinations that we’ve been recommended to have:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Typhoid – be prepared, this one feels like you’ve been punched repeatedly in the arm for a day or so afterwards – ouch!
  • Rabies – this isn’t available on the NHS, only privately and it’s a 3-parter costing approximately £195 in total)
  • Japanese Encephalitis – this isn’t available on the NHS either and is a 2-parter costing approximately £180 in total)

There are also some booster injections that are recommended (if you haven’t had a booster injection in the last 10 years)

  • MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
  • TPD (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio)

It’s annoying that you have to pay so much for the Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis vaccinations but, when you think about the fact that if you catch rabies, it’s almost invariably fatal…I’d rather not be lying, dying in a hospital bed thinking I was an idiot in my final moments for not at least trying to protect myself against it. From my understanding of the vaccination, it gives you a few more hours in which to administer the postexposure prophylaxis before you develop the severe symptoms rather than being a preventative vaccine. But I’m not a doctor…so do ask someone at your travel clinic/GP about this. Also, try not to get bitten by any animals. That will most certainly help.

Although this is arguably the least exciting bit of the trip because you become a bit of a human pin cushion…I think it makes the whole thing feel more real, not just because of the occasional ‘tiny scratch’ (a.k.a. pain) but because there isn’t long left until we’ll be jetting off. Really, this is the last hurdle for us now! We have travel insurance, rucksacks, bikinis, visas…we could just go and sort everything else out when we’re there…but unfortunately the slightly OCD, control freak within me won’t allow that to happen. Spontaneity? Absolutely! I am all for spontaneity. But within reason…

So we have a few more injections in the next couple of weeks, then we need to pick up our prescriptions for antimalarial. Which malaria tablets you need depends on which countries you’re going to, so your nurse/GP/travel clinic should advise you specifically on this.

For travel in South East Asia, I’ve been recommended doxycycline, which you start taking 1/2 days before you need it and keep taking for 28 days after you leave the high risk area. In our case, this means that we’ll need to start taking the tablets just before we head into Laos and keep taking them until we leave SE Asia (and then for 28 days when we’re in Australia). It’s a bit scary reading the possible side-effects…but malaria isn’t something to be taken lightly. In addition to the antimalarials (…slightly misleading name as nothing is 100% effective against malaria) we’ll also be sleeping underneath mosquito nets, wearing insect repellent and generally being on guard against the little blighters! There’s a really handy malaria map here, click on the different countries to see what the risk is.

We’re just over halfway through the vaccination process at the moment, we’re trying to work out the best place to get the Rabies/Japanese Encephalitis jabs and how many antimalarials we need. Will do another vaccinations post with a bit more info when we’ve had all of the necessary injections.

L

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