At 12 weeks out from our departure, we have had to start looking into immunizations. Agree or disagree with immunizing, there are countries that we can’t get into or back out of without the proper documentation of immunization. The CDC website is a great resource, but luckily for us, right down the street we have Hoagland Pharmacy, a local pharmacy that has an immunization nurse on staff. Ruth (the nurse) and I sat down a few months ago to determine what vaccinations were recommended based on the countries we planned to visit. From there, we had to determine what immunizations we already had and what would be wise to get. That required us to do some research.
Let me tell you that as an adult who grew up in a world before digital records, tracking down shot records is not easy. My pediatrician two states away was long gone, no records were ever computerized, and I really hadn’t had many immunizations as an adult. Ray, on the other hand, was in Vietnam only 5 years ago. We knew he had shots at that time, but tracking those down was also troublesome. The kids, at least, were easy. I have kept them up to date on their immunizations and had their records tucked away. So we started calling anyone who might have more information. Ray could not find any records at the Navy hospital, local medical clinic, or in his HR records. The only place I was able to get a bit of information on myself was from my high school. Yep, believe it or not, my high school still had my immunization records, even though I graduated almost 25 years ago! Ruth also proved to be a very valuable resource and was able to locate some records for Ray in a voluntary immunization records database – immunizations which she probably gave him and recorded at the time!
Next, we consulted with my sister-cousin (also a family physician), Jessie Kautzman. She gave us a quick consult on what we should get and was quick to remind us that there are thousands of bugs out in the world that we have no exposure to here in the U.S. Bottom line… it’s better to be safe than sorry. We had the same feeling after reading about Japanese encephalitis. Considering that the outcome of this disease could be mental retardation, coma, or death, $560 per person for the vaccination seemed a small price to pay. This vaccination is recommended for people who are going to be in Southeast Asia for more than 30 days, which definitely includes the Dailey family!
We ended up with the following list:
|Vaccine||Who Needs It|
|Hepatits A/B Combo (2 shots)||Lisa|
|Tdap Booster (1 shot)||Lisa|
|MMR Booster (1 shot)||Lisa|
|Japanese Encephalitis (2 shots)||Lisa, Ray, RJ, Ty|
|Yellow Fever (1 shot)||Lisa, Ray, RJ, Ty|
|Typhoid (3 pills taken every other day)||Lisa, Ray, RJ, Ty|
|Malaria (daily pills while in malaria zones)||Lisa, Ray, RJ, Ty|
We are half way through the series. I get to meet with Ruth two more times and the boys all have one more visit to go. All in all the boys will end up with 3 shots each while I will endure 7. RJ was a little apprehensive of our first shots today and we all have a sore shoulder this evening, but our minds are more at ease even if our wallets are a little lighter.
UPDATE: As mentioned in the comments, some of the immunization series should be started at least six months before departure as more than one shot may be necessary and they need to be at least a month apart and some need time to be effective. Thanks reader!