What a question!
What vaccinations have we already had? We’ve had some as a result of our employment and we had some at school. Which ones are still protecting us and which ones are relevant?
Where did we start? We trawled the Internet, like most people would, taking bits of information from various sources and tried to piece the jigsaw puzzle together.
Some vaccinations will require more than one injection to achieve immunisation, so it’s important to make sure you see the nurse or doctor at least 6-8 weeks prior to travel. This will ensure you are vaccinated prior to travel and avoid you having to get the other injections abroad whilst you’re on the go.
It’s important to know exactly which vaccinations you have had. These should be held on record at your GP, but you should check. Some of the vaccinations we’ve had weren’t, because we had them through work and our GP wasn’t notified.
We made an appointment with the nurse at our local surgery and explained what we had planned. We explained our itinerary. It’s important to know not only which Country you are visiting, but where in that Country you will be travelling. The risks vary depending on where exactly you travel.
The nurse showed us two websites, which acted as her own guide for which vaccinations we were going to have.
This website is perfect. It’s simple to use, very visual and gives you the information you want, within a couple of clicks.
Punch in your destination, and it’ll give you the risks specific to that destination and advice on reducing them. Not sure what a certain disease is? Easy, click on it and it’ll give you a whole page of information just about that one disease, including symptoms to look out for. You can even download a patient information leaflet for each disease. Find out what to do if you think you’ve been put at risk of contracting a disease.
Our favourite thing about this website is the malaria maps. Any Country with a risk of malaria will have a map on it’s page. The map shows you the level of risk.
The other website, is NaTHNaC, the National Travel Health Network and Centre. This website is a gold mine of information, but it’s a little more difficult to find exactly what you’re after. It’s got maps, to find your destination, but no maps showing risk areas. We all like pictures, right? Despite this, check it out, take time to read and understand it.
One thing to be aware of is that not all vaccinations are on the Government. The rabies vaccination for example is £200 each. Your nurse or GP will tell you what is free and what’s not.
People harp on about it all the time, but make sure you have travel insurance! We’re away for seven months. Who knows what will happen to us in that time and where exactly we’ll be if it does. The last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to afford the treatment you so desperately need. We’ve got backpacker’s insurance, with Worldwide cover for around £200 for both of us. That might just be the best £200 we will ever spend.
If you’re unsure of anything, ask your nurse or GP.
We both feel like pin cushions at the moment, but we’ve ticked another thing to do off of our list!
We can’t wait to go!
Ryan and Lois