The world is a scary place… At least it is if you go by the number of vaccinations needed to travel around it.
Since January, we have been making regular visits to the travel clinic at our local surgery. In initial discussions with the nurse we learned that we were going to need pretty much everything in the book. Since then we've been back six times and we have three more visits scheduled.
Although rare, the list of possible side-effects from all the vaccines is impressive. By now we could have had nausea, headache, fever, rash, urticaria, angiodema, respiratory distress, hypotension, optic neuritis, myocarditis, anaphylaxis, and death. We've been lucky and had no side-effects other than a day of flu-like symptoms after our Yellow fever jabs.
In total it will cost us each GBP £353.00 (USD $660.50). Below is the list of vaccinations we have had for our round the world trip. Note that if you live outside the United Kingdom you should check whether these vaccines are licensed in your part of the world.
Typhoid fever: a serious infection caught from contaminated food or water. It is prevalent in areas where sanitation is poor.
Vaccine: TYPHERIX® (1 dose, booster after 3 years)
Hepatitis A: like typhoid fever, this disease is spread by contaminated water or food, wherever there's poor sanitation.
Vaccine: HAVRIX®MONODOSE® (1 dose, booster after 1 year)
Hepatitis B: a highly infectious virus spread through blood and other body fluids. Contact even through tiny quantities of an infected person's body fluid can pass the virus on.
Vaccine: ENGERIX-B® (3 doses, booster sometimes recommended)
Cholera: a serious bacterial disease that occurs in regions of the world where sanitation and food and water hygiene are inadequate or lacking.
Vaccine: Dukoral™ (2 doses by mouth, booster after 2 years)
Cost: £14.50 ($27.00) prescription charge
Diphtheria: a serious disease spread through droplets contained in coughs and sneezes. This is a significant risk in some parts of the world including Russia and the Ukraine.
Tetanus: a potentially fatal disease contracted when spores in the soil enter the body through cuts or scratches. It exists all over the world.
Polio: may cause paralysis and, in some cases, can be fatal. Although it has almost been wiped out in industrialised nations, it is still a risk in some developing countries.
Vaccine (combined Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio): REVAXIS® (1 dose, booster after 1 year), provided you have previously had primary vaccinations for each disease.
Japanese encephalitis: a life-threatening virus which affects the brain. It is spread by mosquitoes during the rainy season in South East Asia and the Far East.
Vaccine: JE-VAX® (3 doses, booster after 2–3 years). Unlicensed in the UK but available on a named-patient basis ('named-patient' is the term used to describe the use of an unlicensed medicine to meet the special needs of an individual patient).
Cost: £122.00 ($228.00)
Meningococcal meningitis: a dangerous illness which is spread through coughs, sneezes and close contact. The types that are common in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia are mainly preventable.
Vaccine: ACWYVAX® (1 dose, booster after 5 years)
Cost: £31.00 ($58.00)
Rabies: a fatal disease which humans can contract from the bite of a rabid animal. It is present in many countries but is a higher risk in some developing countries.
Vaccine: Rabipur® US: RabAvert® (3 doses, booster after 2 years)
Cost: £135.00 ($253.00)
Yellow fever: a potentially fatal disease that is spread by infected mosquitoes. In some areas of the world, you have to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination as proof of vaccination to gain entry into certain countries (available at designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres). This is valid for 10 years from 10 days after vaccination, and immediately after revaccination.
Vaccine: STAMARIL® (1 dose, revaccination after 10 years)
Cost: £50.50 ($94.50)
The Travel Doctor: Comprehensive UK-based travel health site