Sunday, September 18, 2016

Shots Needed for Travel

Look out world - have immunization logbook, will travel

NO - I am not talking about Jello shots.....although it is K-State football tailgate season.  Go Cats!  I am talking about immunizations.  Traveling around this big blue planet there many areas that require immunizations to help keep us healthy.  We want to stay healthy.  We are not anti-vaccination freaks out to infect others and spread.....oh never mind.  We got our Hep A and B as well as a tetanus booster when we traveling to The Bay Islands of Honduras in 2009.  For this season's "Don't Drink The Kool-Aid Trip"  d-oh.....I said I wasn't going to call it that......anyway.....for our Guyana trip, we needed to get Yellow fever and Typhoid shots as well as a scrip for Malaria meds.  Actually, it turns out that we probably should have had our Yellow fever shot for the southern Caribbean.  Side note -   When I originally booked our airfare from Trinidad to the USA back this spring, it made no special notice of Yellow fever.  However, when I went to triple check our reservation three days before our flight out, a popup appeared saying something to the effect of "You are traveling from a known Yellow fever region.  You may be required to show proof of your Yellow fever vaccination when entering the USA."  Rut-ro.  No time to get it now.  Fingers crossed, we were not asked when we landed in Ft Lauderdale.

Once we were back in KC this summer I did some inquiring about Yellow fever and specifically the yellow colored international immunization logbook.  However, I knew we would wait and get the shots back here in Trinidad.  1.)  Price - much cheaper in Trini.  More below on this  2.)  Healthcare professionals here in Trini are much more knowledgeable on Yellow fever here than in KC.  D-uh, of course they would be!  I don't believe there are many cases of Yellow fever in KC.

Last week we went to get our shots.  There are many places to go which include a local medical clinic but I wanted to be sure we could also get the official international logbook as well at the same time.  Running around getting shots and then going someplace else for the logbook and then back for it to be officially filled out all via Maxi Taxi's and walking in the heat of the day did not sound like a scavenger hunt we would be interested in.  Dr Stuart Millar was a one stop shop.  I booked the next appointment opening for two days later.

On Thursday, we took a Maxi Taxi into POS and walked several blocks to his office.  We arrived early just in case traffic was a mess and sweaty from the walk.  We didn't mind waiting as the office was nicely air conditioned and we were able to get in early.  This was despite the fact that the waiting room was fairly full.  It seemed nearly 1/2 of the people waiting were also there for Yellow fever shots, many had on official work clothes for the oil industry and this was the Yellow fever shot production line.  Dr Stuart was friendly but got right down to business.  Stick, stick, stick, stick....."now come in my office."  We chatted while he filled out our official international immunization logbooks and wrote out the malaria med scrip.

I was also fighting a lingering cough from something I picked up back in the USA.  He gave my lungs a quick listen and prescribed an antibiotic.  However at the end of our office visit he said "Oh wait a minute.  I think I have a box of antibiotics I can just give you."  He looked in one of the cabinets and came out with not just a sample but a full treatment dose.  "Here.  Give me the script back and just take these.  That will save you a few dollars."  

We were out the door before our schedule appointment time.  Nice!

Cost breakdown -
  • Johnson County Health Dept wanted $160 for the Yellow Fever shot.  *I didn't ask about Typhoid or Malaria pills.
  • Trinidad Yellow Fever shot $400 TT each or $66 US each.
  • Trinidad Typhoid shot $350 TT each or $58 US each.
  • Dr visit for cough $250 TT or $41 US.
  • FREE box of Augmentin (14 tablets)
  • Trinidad total $1750 TT or $291 US
  • Malaria med - Lariam 3 boxes $628.32 TT total or $95.00 US.  *Dr said "Whose name do you want the malaria scrip in?"  I asked "Don't we each need one?"  "Not necessary as you will just share.  I will make it out in your name."   Okay.  


  1. Fascinating. Before we went to Belize for the first time, we went to a Travel Clinic associated with Duke in NC. Ended up getting shots for Hep A/B combo, a Typhoid med (don't think it was a shot), and a scrip for anti-malarial med. Paid big bucks. Turns out none of the above are big concerns in Belize, but the Travel nurse had us quaking in our boots! We later talked to many visitors in Belize, none of whom had had any of the shots/meds we had. We were really glad we didn't get the anti-malarials due to the expense and side effects (apparently you can't drink alcohol while on them either...that wouldn't have been so good on vacay!) We do have our yellow booklets because of this experience. Fortunately Yellow Fever was not recommended for Belize or I am sure the nurse would have just loved to prescribe that as well! She was such a downer -- made it seem like we would be lucky just to survive a two-week trip to Belize! Anyway, glad you got your meds and shots cheaper in Trini. Smart!

  2. One cruiser recommended waiting to get the anti-malaria drugs and then if we got sick, go to a local clinic and get treated with whatever works there. However, I wasn't sure of clinic availability and such so we opted to get some to take with us. Since I am such a mozzie princess, I have a good chance of getting bitten regardless of whether it malaria or other.

    1. I hear ya. We know so many people who have had either Dengue or Chic-v (like you, ugh!), but never heard of anyone getting malaria in either Belize or Mexico, so we didn't worry too much about that. But South America is likely a different story, and I don't blame you for being cautious.