This past week was a vaccination week, kicking off a month of vaccinations…the final ones before we leave. By the time we’re done we will have vaccinated ourselves against many of the major frights we could encounter on the road, with the exception of cholera, which has an iffy vaccine that you cannot get in the states, and malaria, for which there is not a vaccine. For malaria, we’ll take meds while we’re on the road to protect ourselves in malaria zones, along with a strong dose of DEET insect repellent.
Many people have asked us why we’ve chosen to vaccinate ourselves, especially since our insurance covered none of it and it was a substantial out of pocket expense. With the ongoing debate on the safety of vaccinating your children, people want to know, and frankly, many of them are aggressive with us about why we would put ourselves at risk by getting so many vaccinations.
As a person who is often about the naturopathic & holistic approach, but also has a background in microbiology, I have to be honest and tell you that these immunizations were a no-brainer for us. If we were just staying here in NM, we wouldn’t have even considered most of them, but we’re not staying here. We’re going wandering…and quite often that wandering will take us right off the beaten path into places with very different environments than our bodies are used to. Nothing can ruin a trip faster than getting sick, especially the seriously ill kind where you need to be med-evacuated back to the states, a scenario we would like to avoid at all costs. In the end, for us it was worth the expense to have peace of mind as we travel. But I think it is a very personal decision that everyone needs to make for him/herself.
We are lucky enough to have an amazing travel doctor (Hi Dr. O!) to help us navigate this process and prepare ourselves. She not only walked us through the vaccines that she recommends for our destinations but has also spent time discussing additional strategies to protect ourselves and minimize our risks as we travel. Where a vaccine wasn’t one she recommended or was one she considered optional, she sat down and discussed with us the pros and cons of that particular vaccine so that we could make the best decision for ourselves. She has also provided us with malaria maps and the most up to date information so that we will be well informed and prepared to carry out our malaria treatment on the road as we travel. She is an amazing resource and we’ll continue to be in touch with her throughout our travels.
So what will we have by the time we leave? When we set out in May, we’ll have been vaccinated for the following: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningitis, Yellow Fever, Tetanus booster, MMR booster, Typhoid, Diptheria, Polio, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis
We would always recommend finding a good doctor to assist you with making vaccination & travel health decisions.