The Cost of Travel Vaccinations

Yesterday I went and conquered one of my biggest fears - needles. I have had a needle phobia since I was eight years old, when we were having all the medical tests done to come to Canada. Something along the lines of, I remember a LOT of blood being taken out of me and ever since then I have been terrified of needles.

For my upcoming trip I will be going to Shanghai, Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. This is a new part of the world for me as I have only ventured to the Caribbean and Europe. This trip is largely the reason I began blogging again, because I wanted people who do not travel much to get a glimpse into how much work goes into a long/large trip.

The one part of their traveling budget people overlook is vaccinations. I know I definitely did not think of this as part of my budget until my nurse friends brought it up. The cost of vaccinations is rarely spoken about in general and let me warn you, this next picture is the scariest thing you will see this Halloween weekend.

You see that number there, on the bottom right?

$539.50 CAD (aka $402.75 USD aka $366.60 EURO aka $51,696.73 JAMA... nvm)

As I am someone who works on contract currently and have no benefits, this was all paid by me. According to most people I spoke to, travel vaccinations aren't really covered by anyone, it is usually up to the traveler to pay all this themselves. OHIP in Canada does not cover these either, but it will cover the Tetanus and MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccines I still have to get. (ALL of you should be up to date with Tetanus and MMR, I'm just a big chicken so I'm updating them now)

I went to this place called Passport Health in downtown Toronto - I read very good reviews about them online and these prices actually fell in line with what I read everywhere else about the costs of travel health prep.

Luckily for me, I only had to get one needle from them and I opted for the ViVAXIM combination one that is for Typhoid and Hepatitis A  = $120.00 

I will have to go back to re-up on the Hepatitis A within six months to make it last longer so if I go abroad like this in next two years, I won't have to do all of it again.

The other costs:

My office visit: $69.00 (but I filled out the medical questionnaire before arriving and got $10 discount)

Dukoral: So this is something I will have to drink three weeks before departure, followed by drinking a second dose two weeks before departure. This is to protect my tummy from Cholera and E. Coli = 2 doses x $59.00 = $118.00

Malarone 250mg/100mg: These are pills that I will take 2 days before, every day during and two days after my trip to protect me against malaria. The nurse at the Passport Health Clinic told me it is unlikely for malaria to be an issue for the countries I am going to. This was something I actually insisted on getting just to take extra precautions. My blood attracts bug bites of all kinds like this Bosnian kid attracts metal.

They love me and I know I will be bitten all over even even if I use every measure of protection I can, so I rather pay the extra money and sleep better at night NOT thinking about contracting a serious disease like malaria = 23 pills x $9.50 = $218.00

Azithromycin 250mg - These are antibiotics I will take with me to have just in case I get 'Bali belly' or just any kind of serious internal issues that will keep me on the toilet instead of out enjoying my vacation = 6 pills x $4.00 = $24.00

I realize this is a lot of money spent on not particularly necessary healthcare. I am choosing to travel there, of my own free will, I am putting myself in some new types of possibly harmful situations. But as my mom says, IT IS A YOLO!

I rather be protected and properly prepared than heaven forbid get sick while there or come back with some disease that will have me hospitalized and unable to work. #ItsNotOneOfThose

The overall experience of going to this Passport Health clinic was amazing. The nurse (wish I could remember her name, sorry) was so nice to me and took her time with me, since I am a big chicken and had to lay down and be given a lollipop to settle my nerves. When I arrived she also had a THICK folder set up with all needed information for my trip.

 

This folder had for China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore everything and anything I needed to know to keep me safe.

This included:

  • suggested vaccines for each country

  • what illnesses to look out for in particular parts of each country

  • travel advisories

  • passport/visa requirements

  • culture

  • laws

  • climates during time of travel

  • LGBT travel

Yes, my arm hurts and its been over 24 hours.

Yes, my wallet is burning because I could have bought so many cookies with this money instead. 

However, YES I feel good about all of this because I know in the long-run these preventative measures are needed to keep me safe on my trip. (Update: I did not get sick or have 'Bali Belly' even once during the entirety of my trip and I are everything in sight. Jan/2017)

Travel vaccinations and travel vaccination costs should be something you guys should really ponder about going forward. I hope this blog piece was informative and helpful to any of you intent on traveling to parts of the world where vaccinations are recommended. I will let all of you know after my trip how my body did with all of these precautions having being taken.

Safe travels!

- Mirna