My immune system is in overdrive. Currently its fighting off a host of vaccine antigens in the hope that if I do become exposed to any of this nonsense during my travels, my body will remember and squash these invaders. Super immune system here I come!
I started this process by researching online what immunizations were required or recommended for the possible countries I might end up traveling through. The CDC’s Yellow Book online was very useful. A call was also placed to my insurance company to inquire what vaccines they would pay for or at least partially pay for under my plan. Then armed with all that info, I went to the travel clinic at a nearby pharmacy. The pharmacist (my new buddy, Steve) had 80 pages of his own research to go over with me too.
I opted for nearly every recommended vaccine for two reasons: 1) Its inevitable I will get sick on this trip (as my travel history has proven). Any I can eliminate seems wise. 2) Insurance paid for all of it. Had they not, I would likely be weighing the risks to balance affordability with coverage. After years of staring at doctor bills in amazement of how little the insurance company covered, this is the first situation where I totally came out ahead. Pure luck.
Here is what I ended up getting, what it could have cost and what I paid in the end:
BOOYA! Who wouldn’t be pumped about $2056 in savings with insurance?!
A few more notes. Last year my doctor gave me the Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis vaccine so I’m already covered there. Also, I will be on the road when the 2nd Hep A and 3rd Hep B are due – cheap vaccines in Thailand, score! The $45 in ‘Other’ items were completely optional – the first one is for travelers diarrhea and the following two for unpleasant feminine situations (might as well be prepared, err). I plan on taking some anti-malaria pills with me too since I’ll be traveling in some highly prone areas (Malarone) – I just don’t know how many my insurance will cover yet. Steve is running the numbers and will have the options ready at my next appointment later this month…fingers crossed, $15 for a unlimited?!
Advice? Just know you’re going to feel absolutely terrible the day after these shots. Achy muscles…am I getting the flu?…why am I so tired? Super immune system in work. Oh and the yellow fever vaccine burns…be brave!
There are definitely a lot of health risks throughout the world that we don’t have to worry about in the US too. I’m definitely not in denial about the risks. If anything I have a healthy sense of fear. But I also know that fear won’t stop me from pursuing travel and once-in-a-lifetime experiences! All these pokes and bruises will be very worth it soon enough!