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Timcb

Immunizations

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Hey yall,

I'm going down to SA this summer to do a bit of climbing and traveling in Peru and Bolivia. We'll be mostly in the andes, but would like to spend a little time on the coast and a little time in the amazon. What sort of shots have those of you with the experience gotten prior to heading south?

 

I live in seattle and called up Virginia Mason today, but it'll cost me $65 just for a "travel consultation" (i.e. just to talk to someone who knows), then $15 for the administration of each shot, plus however much each dose costs. They tell me insurance generally doesn't cover any of this.

 

There's got to be a cheaper way- any suggestions?

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I was in S.America for most of last year, travelled to all the areas that you're talking about and more. If you were just to stay in the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands (the andes and westward, aka not east to the jungle) then I think what you need is Hep A and Hep B at a minimum (you should get these). They'll keep you from contracting these nasty and totally avoidable illnesses that you can catch from general uncleanly conditions.

 

If you descend to the lowland jungles (amazon), chances are you'll need some other shots and pills. As far as other vaccinations, you should consider typhoid and yellow fever shots. I needed a yellow fever shot to get a visa into brazil and typhoid is a good idea when travelling to any tropical s.american countries.

 

Depending on where you go, you might want to have some anti-malaria pills with you. I had a whole bunch, but ended up not taking them. I did go to some really deep and remote areas of the Peruvian amazon, but I was told by locals that there was no malaria in that particular part of the jungle. Had I been a hundred or so miles in a different direction, things might have been different. The only way you find those things out though is by going there. The general statements put out by health officials will only tell you very generally what parts of the country have it and what don't.

 

If you're headed up high, you might want to take some Acetzolamide with you to help with the altitude.

 

I think I went to the Kking county travel clinic ( I think) downtown for my shots and meds. I also had a "consultation", which I thought was going to be a joke. It wasn't. The travel nurse sat me down and taught me about all the nasty diseases that I may encounter, what to look for, how to avoid them, etc, etc. There are a lot more than what you'll be getting vaccinated for. It was super informative. That took 45 minutes. The shots took 5. It was worth it.

 

One more thing... you can look up all this info on the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) website. Here's the link to their S.American info... http://www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm They'll let you know about any current outbreaks of anything.

 

Hope that helps.

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It depends on the insurance. All of my shots were covered by my insurance when I came out to Rwanda, that was Hep A, Hep B, tetanus, typhoid, yellow fever, menegitis.

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No offense but trolling a message board for immunization / medical advice is pretty stupid. Recommended shots and malaria meds change from year to year. $65 + $15 per shot sounds like a bargain considering what could be the alternative. You probably spend that much on beer on a good weekend. You don't want to get hepatitus. wave.gif

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I needed a yellow fever shot to get a visa into brazil and typhoid is a good idea when travelling to any tropical s.american countries.

A friend was taking a Bolivian bus to the border, if you didn´t have the yellow fever shot already the dr. would give you one right there. Same needle for the whole bus hellno3d.gif

 

www.tripprep.com has a list of travel med providers, you might call and compare prices. What you were quoted is about what I paid in PDX, and health insurance didn´t cover it. Most of the vaccines aren´t cheap, your looking at $300-$400 at least. And it´s not something I´d skimp on given the ability of a bug to really ruin your trip (it´s happend to me, it really, really, really sucks)

 

I´m curious what insurance you have Ken? That sounds like a nice policy that´d be worth the $

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It seems more background is appropriate. I went to Ecuador Andes 3.5 yrs ago and before that got shots for typhoid and hep A. I've also been immunized against meningitis, hep B, and other normal stuff. I'm not asking for medical advice- there's no way I'd look to you gapers for that.

I'm more interested in how much it all cost you and if there was a lower cost alternative to virginia mason. If $65 + $15 is actually cheaper than you'd expect, then that's where I'm heading.

 

Thanks for the responses so far.

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I'd recommend using this website and not the advise of strangers (but I guess that would be taking my advise...)

CDC

 

Also check Seattle Public Health, they have branches all over. That is where I got my immunizations done.

 

Seattle Public Health

 

Sorry Timcb didn't read your last response until I already posted. that sounds cheaper than what it cost me.

Edited by Dustin_B

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I just got my immu package, hep A and B, and typfoid and consultation for $140. the consultation is actually pretty sweet, i walked out of there with a folder of information about the country. pluss they give you prescriptions for just about anything i wanted to take. i went to the county health department and it went pretty easy.

bigdrink.gif

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The CDC site has the most definitive, up to date info on most any country. You can easily download the information yourself. Then you can go to the health dept. and get the vaccines for probably less money than if you went to a regular doctor's office. One other option, if you have a doctor already and know what vaccines you need, is to schedule an appt. for vaccines only, no visit with the doctor. The charges are less for such an appt. but most clinics will not have the more obscure vaccines like yellow fever and meningitis.

If you need malaria pills, you will need face time with a doc and will have to pay for the appointment.

 

You will not need a repeat Hep A, meningitis or Hep B vaccine. You might want to consider a repeat typhoid, depending on estimated risk where you are going. Yellow Fever is about all that is left to worry about. But don't just take my advice, because I haven't checked the CDC site in a while.

Edited by Norman_Clyde

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OK, after telling you not to take the advice of anyone on a bulletin board I will now give you advice.

 

UW medical center used to have a travel meds clinic.

 

When I was in Ecuador a number of years ago I was cheap as well and waited until I got there to buy the malaria medicine. As you know, drugs are cheaper just about anywhere but USA. They sell them at the pharmacy down there. The drawback to this is I think it takes a week for the pills to become effective, leaving you vulnerable for that first week.

 

I had the yellow fever shot in the USA as well as all the Hep shots. When I flew into the Amazon portion of Colombia everyone had to either get a shot, or show documentation.

 

I was cheap but will not take that risk again. Just go to the clinic. I'll be going down there again this year but will not be going anywhere there is malaria.

 

Good luck!

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I´ll add that Yellow Fever is the only vaccination that can be required for entry to a country (by treaty). Make sure you get the Yellow card to go with. It´s also a helpful document for keeping track of other vaccinations, glasses perscription and the like.

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I just went throug this whole thing. It was entirely covered by insurance. Go to the Hall health travel clinic at UW. They give a consultation, and tons on info on everything you need to know. Dont delay as many of the imunizations take a couple of months or more. I am not about to suggest which ones to get and you should not listen to anyone other than the doc who you do your consultation with. It is super easy to have done and even if you dont have insurance, it is not that expensive given the risks.

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The CDC website is the best place to look to see what vaccinations you need for a particular country. Most people who work in travel clinics will refer to this site when deciding what to give you for your trip.

 

If you will spend time in the Amazon, having along malaria proplylaxis is a good idea. Some of the meds (Larium and Malarone) are very expensive and may not be very cost effective if you're not sure you're going to visit these areas. A useful alternative is Doxycycline which is effective and much less expensive. The downside is you have to take it for one month after you return and some people get skin reactions when they take it and are exposed to the sun (photosensitivity reactions).

 

Diamox and Dexamethasone are both good ideas if you're going to be bopping around in some of the high altitude regions of the Andes. Both are very inexpensive and well worth having along... provided you know how to use them.

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