Trip Preparation No 1

Vaccinations! Of course we realised that vaccinations would be necessary for our trip around the world but I didn’t realise that the shots would cost so much – yikes! And none of them are covered by our extended medical plan, as we later found out. The first order of medical business was to make an appointment at the travel medical clinic for a consultation. The doctor with whom we spoke was knowledgeable and interested in our trip, noting that, as travelers who might go off the beaten path, as well as be riding bicycles, we would need more vaccinations that those required for the more usual short trip. So, here’s the list: tetanus, diptheria, hep A and B, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid, yellow fever and rabies.

The consultant doctor discussed rabies with us, saying that she would neither recommend nor not recommend rabies, but that it was up to us whether we thought we needed it or not. I thought about it quite a bit, and did some research into the prevalence of rabies in South East Asia, finding out that the disease is present throughout SE Asia and, in particular, Bali. Although the risk of being bitten by a rabid animal is very low, given the large number of stray dogs on Bali (hundreds of thousands apparently), and the potential difficulty of getting the necessary immunoglobulin should one of us be bitten, we decided to bite the bullet … and get the series of three rabies shots. Having these means that, if bitten, I would “only” need a series of three booster shots, rather than the immunoglobulin and three booster shots that I’d otherwise need. Peace of mind dictated caution, even at the price of $1200. for those shots alone.

In addition to the vaccinations, we also filled prescriptions for travellers diarrhea and malaria prophalaxis. We had a choice of malaria medication, given the countries to which we’re travelling. In various countries the mosquitoes are resistant to some of the medications available but not to others; some of the medications need to be taken for more time that others – we decided to go with doxycycline and malarone.

For more information on the Vancouver Coastal Travel Clinic, click here.


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