On occasion we post important content from our book, The NuNomad. This post is one such excerpt.
This is the time of year when we get questions about pre-travel preparations. You know, the stuff you have to do before going. It’s when one is in their final weeks of preparing for that first big nomadic adventure that the pressure of getting your ?to-do check list? completed can disrupt one’s peace of mind like a pebble in a flip-flop. Yes, pre-travel preparations can be as maddening as it can be exciting. It could also be a bit trepidatious. Example: travel vaccinations.
Let me get the first question in your mind, Do I really need them? out of the way. It’s ?yes.” (Well, probably.) If you’re planning to base yourself in Western Europe, Australia or Canada, you may not need immunizations. But for most everywhere else, you’ll need the protection!
But don\’t get your knickers in a twist. The series of immunizations is not the daunting task you may think it is.
Let’s start with cost and where to get them. If you get them from the county or local government health department, the price may range from free (if your government is not the USA) to $150-250 USD. However, many private health insurance programs and HMOs often provide them to their members free of charge. (Note: be sure to get the International Certificate of Vaccination?yellow card?which records all of your vaccinations and the date you received them. Some countries may want to see your yellow card before they will allow you to enter.)
If you want to save some money, check to see if the country you’re heading to can provide travel immunizations cheaper than at home. If you’re traveling to a lesser-developed country, such as Thailand, you could save some big bucks. I got my last booster series in a hospital in Bangkok for a fraction of what it costs me at home (USA).
Okay, so what immunizations are recommended? Here’s our list!
The Nu Nomad List of Most Common Travel Vaccinations
(You may not need all of these.)
Duration of Effectiveness
|Cholera (optional, and you don’t get a lot of protection from it)|
|Tetanus and Diphtheria||5 years|
|Typhoid (injection or in tablet form)2||5 years|
|Hepatitis A (series of 2 vaccinations, over 2 months) 3||5-10 years|
|Hepatitis B (series of 3 vaccinations, over 6 months)||5-10 years|
|Measles/Mumps/Rubella ? only 1 booster is needed once you’re an adult 4|
|Polio ? only 1 booster is needed once you’re an adult 5|
|Meningococcal Meningitis||3 years|
|Yellow Fever||10 years|
1 The new JE Vax will be replacing the now widely used vaccine for Japanese Encephalitis. 2 The typhoid vaccine is either tablet or injection. In Asia it is injection since it is cheaper and doesn’t need a strict “cold chain.” If the tablets aren’t kept at the right temperature they don’t work. 3 The hepatitis A and B vaccines are now available in a single vaccine for those who need both, it means one less shot. 4 Those with HIV or immune suppression should avoid the MMR vaccine and the oral polio vaccine. 5 For the polio vaccine, it comes as either a shot or as an oral solution. The shot is safer, has less chance of side-effects, but is slightly less effective. The oral liquid is not recommended for those who have never had it before.
goes to Dr. Nick Walters, MD?tropical and preventive medicine specialist at Mission Hospital, Bangkok, for his help on this article.)
But wait! There’s more! If you plan to do a lot of trekking in places such as in Asia, Africa or South America, it is worth considering the rabies vaccine. It takes a month to give the series of three. However, if you get bitten by a rabid animal it is still vitally important that you get several more booster shots of the rabies vaccine, even if you’ve had the rabies vaccine before the incident. Any mammal can carry rabies.
Rabies cases are 100% fatal.
Additionally: If you are traveling during flu season, you may want to get that shot too. (The flu shot is yearly.) Those with lung problems or heart problems should have a pneumococcal vaccine once every 10 years. And a Tuberculosis test is a good one to have as well. (Be sure to keep your certificate showing the negative result.)
Want more Info? Check out The (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
What About Malaria? (I’ll cover that in my next article.)
Photo by: mksphotos