For many countries it is recommended (and sometimes required) that you get some immunizations before visiting. I’m sure you’ve all heard about malaria in Africa and diphtheria on the Oregon Trail. We had too so, like the organized and prepared travelers that we are, we did a quick Google search for travel immunizations in Austin and headed over to the walk-in clinic at our local HEB. No appointments necessary.
The staff was a bit bewildered, but willing to help. Typically if someone is going to just one part of the world it is not that difficult to figure out what immunizations are needed. Just check out the CDC website. That is essentially what the doctor did at the clinic we went to. He asked us to write down all of the countries we were planning to visit. He then took that hodgepodge of sticky notes and disappeared into another room for a while. When he emerged with a stack of printed papers he recommended that we get immunized for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Tetanus, Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B.
Yellow Fever is the big required one. Some countries won’t let you in without proof that you are immune to Yellow Fever so when you get the shot the doctor will give you this fancy yellow document as proof.
He also wrote a prescription for some pills for malaria and traveler’s diarrhea (because yuck). Here’s the problem with the malaria medication: you have to take the pills before, during, and after you travel to countries of concern. Because we weren’t sure about our schedule at the time the doctor wrote us a prescription for enough malaria pills to cover our entire trip. According to the pharmacy that would cost us $5,000 so we’ve got to narrow that down a bit. Malaria is now on the to-do list.