Saturday, April 30, 2005

Vaccinations

It's time to talk about vaccines! You need to get them by about August 1, primarily because you need at least a month for your second Hepatitis B shot.

Here is what you'll need for Ghana:

Recommended: (unless you've already had them)
hep A (two shots needed total, six months apart - but will get some immunity with first shot)
hep B (three shots needed, one month later for the second one, six months later for the third – you’ll get pretty good immunity with the second shot I believe)

Needed: (unless you've had them recently)
tetanus
Polio booster
Yellow Fever
Menningitis
Typhoid
Malaria pills

Where to go:

This may require some research on your part. I recommend Passport Health - it's a great travel clinic with locations across the US. Their main website is available here:
  • Passport Health


  • Rayann, who is going on our trip, owns a Passport Health Clinic in Los Angeles. We met when she donated vaccine for a mission to Nigeria a few years ago!

    You can also look up "travel medicine" in your local phonebook for other clinics or doctors that specialize in travel meds. Your insurance company may be able to recommend someone as well. I’ve heard that Kaiser has free travel meds included in its policy.

    Besides a reputable travel clinic, you may be able to get all your shots from the Health Department in your area - perhaps at a lower cost than a regular travel clinic. (I haven't pursued this information, but if any of you do research it will you let me know?) You can get your malaria med prescription from your regular doctor if you do go to the Health Department.

    There are three choices for the area we're going to:

    1) Malarone - Personally, I prefer this one, but it is pricier than the others. I have zero side-effects when I take it.

    2) Larium - Can cause weird dreams and has a more reported side-effects than the others. I'm not wild about anyone in the group taking this because it may be a bit unpredictable.

    3) Doxycycline - Low cost and very few side-effects. (But if you're at all prone to candida, this may set it off. In that case you should either go for Malarone or take along treatment for that as well.)

    I'm not a doctor, so the above is just my personal experience.

    As I said in the first volunteer email, you'll need to cover your own vaccine and visa expenses. The good news is that most of these vaccinations last for quite a while and you'll be covered to go almost anywhere with these!

    Prices will vary widely, but here’s a rough guide:

    hep A $70 (per shot, two shots needed, six months apart - but will get some
    immunity with first shot)
    hep B $ 70 (per shot, three shots needed, one month later for the second
    one, six months later for the third - will get pretty good immunity with the
    second shot I believe)
    tetanus $40
    Polio booster $45
    Yellow Fever $85
    Menningitis $85
    Typhoid $60


    Malaria meds range from $6 per pill (Malarone) to $16 for a bottle of 50 (Doxy). You need Malarone for a shorter period of time than Doxy, but still Doxy works out to be MUCH less expensive.

    2 Comments:

    Blogger anneb said...

    Hi, everybody-

    I just wanted to let anyone living in Austin and going on the mission know about what I found after doing some research on getting immunizations. Apparently, we can't get them from the Health Dept. here. They no longer do travel immunizations. So- I looked into a few different travel clinic options and found that the Travel Health Clinic in the Pro-Med Clinic (336-2727), at 183 near 620, offers the best rates for the vaccinations we need ($302, which includes the office visit fee and counseling about the meds and other travel health information). This does not include the optional Hep A and Hep B immunizations. I'm getting those through the People's Community Clinic (2909 IH-35). They have the least expensive prices ($250 for all five shots), and it's on a walk-in basis, usually Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 1:30. You can call 708-3199 for their clinic hours and any additional immunization information.

    Hope this helps!

    9:14 AM  
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    10:59 PM  

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