Vaccinations To go to The Himalayas

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Numerous vaccinations but do we need all of them?

We knew we would need vaccinations to go to the Himalayas but we didn't realize quite how many. I went to my doctor for a different reason and mentioned to her that I needed to find out what needles were needed for our holiday. She asked me where I was going and then told me I needed to make a fresh appointment to see a doctor in their "Travel Clinic". So a fresh appointment had to be made.

A few days later I fronted up to the surgery to see the doctor at the Travel Clinic. He asked me what needles I had been given in previous years. Being a person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I have a shocking memory and I have only a vague knowledge of previous needles - certainly nothing that could be relied upon for accuracy. He asked what needles I had as a child. Again he didn't get much more than a blank look from me.

Because of my lack of knowledge I have to be tested for Hepatitis A and B. If, at some stage, I have been vaccinated against them in the past then I don't need them a second time.

The doctor determined that Tetanus is needed because I didn't think I'd had one in the last 10 years. It also seems that a Typhoid jab is headed my way and also Rabies jabs - notice I'm writing that in the plural. So the doctor accompanies me down the hallway in search of the nurse who will give me the needles. Along the way he is telling me something about Cholera and Malaria. With a lot of facts swirling about in my head I now have no recollection of what he was saying about those.

The nurse sits me down in the presence of the doctor and asks me if the doctor has told me about the cost of these needles. I, of course, say "No". She then proceeds to tell me there will be a series of three Rabies needles and each will cost $104. She then says the Tetanus will cost $48. The Typhoid jab will cost $54.60. I'm then given the good news that the cost of the doctors visit today will be $120 but there will be no charge for all the succeeding doctors visits needed for the follow-up needles the nurse will give me. Struth, that is a lot of money! And I've not yet factored in the Hepatitis A & B which surely I will need. And what about the Cholera and Malaria situations...........

Later when Ian got home I told him what he was in for. The look on his face was priceless. Ian has since discovered that the Hepatitis needles could be the sort where more than one dose is necessary. It gets worse as it goes on.......


The vaccination process begins for one of us

So, for the first session I received the first of three Rabies needles and a Tetanus shot. The nurse put in them in different arms so they can identify the culprit if you become very unwell. Despite the nurse's warning that I might feel unwell because of the Tetanus shot I really didn't have much in the way of side effects at all.

Back again a week later for the second session and I find out that I need Hep. A & B as well. I was given the second Rabies jab and the first of the three Hep. A& B's which the nurse refers to as a Twinrix. I have a heap of appointments lined up over the coming weeks. Ian starts his next week and as far as I'm aware Jeremy hasn't even booked his first appointment yet.


The need for Rabies needles

We know of some other folk who are going to the Himalayas shortly too and they are not having the Rabies jabs. Research we have done indicates that if you are not within 24 hours of a doctor after being in a Rabies situation then you should be vaccinated. We are not willing to chance being able to find a doctor in a hurry when we are in southern Tibet.


The need for Malaria tablets

We didn't know if we needed to take Malaria tablets or not. I found the doctors response somewhat hard to understand and his lack of English doesn't help me much. So, as we always do when we are stuck, we posted a question on our favourite Trip Advisor web site. Another helpful traveller helped us immensely. He referred us to these two web sites and we were able to determine that we weren't going to be in Malaria prone areas so we don't need the tablets. These are the two web sites: Fit For Travel - Malaria and the World Health Organization. Look for the Disease Distribution Maps section part way down the page. I also learned from one member's posting on the Trip Advisor site that Rabies needles are much more expensive in the UK. He said they were 50% more expensive than what I paid!


I'll report back when other members of the family have started their needles........

Back again.......Ian has just visited a different travel clinic and he was told he doesn't need Rabies. His doctor told him that if he was bitten he has several days in which to get medical help for vaccination. Then when he returns back to Oz he should get the two follow-up needles back here. If having been bitten by a dog/monkey he would then get the follow up needles for free back here in Australia. He was also told he needs Polio vaccination. That never got mentioned by my doctor. Our son will be having his needles shortly too so it will be interesting to hear what he is told.

Back again.......Jeremy has now started his needles. His doctor is giving him rabies shots. Ian is not bothered at not having rabies shots.


Vaccination refunds by health insurance companies

A helpful girl in Medicare suggested I contact our health insurance company as she thought we might be able to claim against the costs of all these vaccinations. I rang them and she was correct. I think I was told anything over and above $35 per vaccination is claimable. Once we've all finished our vaccinations I'll lodge claims. It should be quite a nice little refund when we get it................ the refund ended being a massive $600 AUD between the three of us. Not bad at all!


Packing our gear

With only one week to go before we set off we are still undecided about how much room we'll need for our gear. We have to take these wretched sleeping bags all for the sake of three days in southern Tibet where we are told we will need them even inside out "hotel" rooms. The hotel rooms there will be very basic - not at all like a western hotel - they are pretty much just four walls and a ceiling to keep the wind chill factor down. We don't know whether to take our heavy coats or not. Maybe all our layers of clothing plus our rain jackets will be sufficient. Those thick coats take up so much room. Jeremy's girlfriend has brought over three of her family's large suitcases which are on wheels. When we do the final pack next Friday we can decide to take those in lieu of our large rucksacks if needs be.

Only 7 sleeps to go........


Next page - Heading to Singapore




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