Saturday, 8 September 2012

I thought holidays were meant to be fun?

The Tibetan Plateau (from a plane window)

I’ve got a great trip coming up at the end of this month, a few weeks in a part of the world I don’t really know a lot about but have long wanted to see.  As excited as a I am about it (very), there is certainly some prep work to be done ahead of time.  Based on my itinerary, the NHS (UK health service) and my doctor have advised/suggested I have the following vaccinations:

  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Tick Born Encephalitis
It’s also recommended that I take precautionary anti malarials and some altitude sickness tablets.  So in addition to the cost of the trip (the tour and the flights, the three visas and the various pieces of equipment I’ve needed), I’ll also be forking out a whack of money for some of these jabs.  Luckily, I’m up to date on the first three, and Hep A vaccination is free in this country so I don’t need to pay for that one.  Still, I foresee a lot of doctors’ appointments in my immediate future.

Interestingly, I’ve a colleague heading off soon for a few months travel (India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South East Asia) on her way home to the Southern Hemisphere.  She’s only getting the bare minimum in vaccinations (tetanus, typhoid & hep A) to save some cash and because she hates needles.  For many of the diseases I’ve listed, these jabs will be boosters for me (I had a big bout of vaccinations around 11 years ago when I first moved overseas).  It never crossed my mind this time or the last not to get the recommended jabs.  What are your thoughts on vaccinations?  The bare minimum or better to be safe than sorry?

All of that said, and despite the expense of this trip (it’s one of my more expensive ones), I think this trip will be amazing.  I’m heading out to the mountains and lakes and national parks. I’m going four wheel driving, hiking and rafting.  I’m camping rough, sleeping under the stars and staying with local farmers. I’m really quite excited.  And if you’re wondering, I’m going to the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. 


  1. I remember the first trip to the travel clinic when we knew we were going abroad and I felt like a pin cushion by the time I left. I'm not big on vaccinations - in fact, I'd prefer not to get them. But, I also knew that healthcare in West Africa was going to be minimal so I didn't want to take any chances. Not to mention there are certain vaccines (yellow fever for example) that must be done in order to enter the country. While living in Gabon, we didn't take anti-malarials because it was really hard on our bodies and they are actually very well equipped to deal with malaria (even moreso than our more developed countries because they don't have the disease there.)
    In any case, I'm fairly well covered now for almost anywhere in the world ;)

    1. I know your pin cushion feeling! I've opted for most of the vaccinations recommended but only after discussing with the travel nurse. Rather an injection or two now than an ongoing disease.