Travel Vaccines- the shots you never thought you’d get

One downside about international travel is the need for various vaccines when traveling to certain countries.  It can get a little pricey, depending on what shots you need.  Some vaccines are suggested, depending on how long you’re staying, and some are required.  Most travel guidebooks have a section on Health Requirements for your country of choice, and you can also go to the CDC website,, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and look up your country.

Julio and I went to our travel doctor yesterday to get updated for our Thailand and Cambodia trip.  Previously for our South Africa trip, we’d gotten typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines, as well as malaria pills.  When you’re on safari, malaria pills are essential because of mosquitos that carry the disease.  Malaria can be fatal, and if you experience symptoms such as aches and pains, nausea, headache, vomiting or fever, you should head to a doctor immediately.  We started our malaria pills the day before we got to the “infected area” and continued them during our stay, and for a week after we left Kruger.



Previously when we went to Thailand, we didn’t get any vaccines, however I looked up Thailand on the CDC website and found that typhoid and hepatitis A were suggested for both Thailand and Cambodia.  Malaria isn’t found in the major cities of Cambodia, including Phnom Pehn and Siem Reap, where we’re traveling, so tourists going for a short amount of time and staying in these regions don’t need malaria pills.  Julio tends to get eaten alive everywhere we travel, so he wanted to get the pills as a precaution anyways.  Also, we got the booster for our hepatitis A vaccine so now we’re protected for 20 years.  At least we won’t have to worry about that one anymore (plus the shot is pretty painful!).  Our typhoid vaccines are good for 2 years (for the shot) and 4 years (if you take the oral pills, which I did).  Once we fill our prescriptions at Costco for malaria pills, we will be set to go!

It’s very important to always research vaccine requirements before you travel, because you don’t want to get turned away at the border.  When we went to South Africa, the Ebola virus scare was winding down, but there were still limitations on who could travel to what countries within Africa and vaccine checks were relatively strict.  Most European countries only require routine vaccines (Hepatitis B, Tetanus, chicken-pox/polio) but South America requires a yellow fever vaccine for most countries.  As I said before, when we first went to Thailand, we didn’t get any shots, but now we know that typhoid and hepatitis A were suggested.  It’s personal preference for the suggested vaccines but I feel it’s better to be safe than sorry.  You don’t want to step on a rusty nail in the middle of Cambodia and have to pay $10,000 to be flown to the nearest hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.  Basic safety precautions are also important, including not drinking tap water, especially in third world countries, cooking your food thoroughly before eating, and washing your hands frequently.  So be careful, go to your doctor at least 3 weeks prior to your trip for vaccines, and happy travels!!

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