First thing's first - you don't really get injected in the bum, its actually in the shoulder and it doesn't hurt one bit...promise!!
One of your top priorities before traveling should be getting your vaccinations topped up or given for the first time. A lot of the countries in South East Asia have a high risk of disease and contamination, therefore it is essential that you get them booked in.
A list of your already given vaccines and any new vaccines that you will need can be provided by your local travel nurse. All you need to do is book in a telephone call/appointment with them at your local doctors surgery - this takes 15 minutes and you’ll find out all you need to know or in Jac's case 2 hours because his nurse loved talking about travelling!!
You can also check out what you need online: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/
Some injections are be free with on NHS however, other ‘less prevalent in the UK’ injections will have to be paid for privately.
Free vaccinations include:
Paid for vaccinations include:
According to Boots, the following injections are needed for travel to Thailand/ Cambodia/ Vietnam/ Nepal/ Malaysia/ Indonesia/ Taiwan/ Philippines/ Nepal are:
Cholera, Diphtheria, Hep A, Hep B, Japanese Encephalitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Rabies, Tetanus, Tuberculosis and Typhoid
Now I know what you must be thinking... core that’s a lot of needles!!! However, a lot of these jabs you should have had when you were younger and can last up to 25 years in some cases.
It differs from person to person, for example I only had to have my Typhoid topped up, however Jac had to have quite a few! Including his Hepatitis B which leads on the the next point.. make sure you get your vaccinations booked in in advance! There’s a national shortage of vaccine doses at the moment which left Jac having to pay for his privately due to there being none available on the NHS at his doctors surgery.
You can get some of your private jabs done at your doctors surgery, however we would recommend going to Boots Pharmacy! They were great in informing us what we would need and were cheaper than our doctors surgery prices.
For the Rabies jabs - I had mine done at Boots which came in at 3 lots of £55 per jab = £165. Jac had his done at his doctors surgery prior to knowing the prices at Boots which came in at £180 (£60 per jab). It takes 3-4 weeks to complete the course, therefore it’s recommended getting these booked in at least a month before you leave. Although this seems expensive Rabies comes with a 99.99% death rate (and the 0.01% equates to the one person who has ever survived Rabies and this is only because they were medically induced into coma for years before being woken up to be totally paralysed). So don't skimp out on it.
Jac paid £35 for his Hep B jab. However, there needs to be 4 jabs given over the space of just over a year so it’s best to plan for this jab well in advance. The first jab is given on your first appointment, the next will be after 1 month, the 3rd is given after a following 2 months and the last is given as a booster 1 year later.
The other private jab needed is Japanese Encephalitis... Now the first time we saw this written down we both thought the same thing - Japaneseeee Encepha-who-tis?!? With a bit of research, we found out this disease is rare but most common in rural areas (areas with rice fields). It’s found in pigs and birds and is passed to mosquitos when they bite infected animals. There is no cure and around 1 in 250 people who contract the disease will develop severe symptoms... 1 in 3 of these 250 people will die from infection. A lot of the survivors are left with permanent brain damage or long term problems including paralysis. Given this... we thought it may be best to get this one too! It cost £85 per injection (it’s 2 injections 4 weeks apart) which comes in at £170 per person.
Overall, we paid a combined amount of £720 for our private injections! Neither of us knew prior to travel planning that these were going to be so expensive, therefore it’s a good idea to save some of your pennies for your vaccinations on top of saving for your spending money amount!
Now lets not forget one final thing. Good news is we're passed getting poked with needles there's one more thing to remember, 'Malaria' and those bleeding tablets you've got to take loads of. You can use either guide we've linked (Boots or NHS) to see what countries you may need these tablets for. Its simple enough - we've bought around two months worth of Doxycyclene each (cheapest out of all the Malaria tabs) which need to be taken two days prior to entering a Malaria Zone and 4 weeks following leaving the contamination zone. We bought ours from Superdrug and you can get them online without needing a prescription or even going to the Doctors. Theres a few different options which range in price and potential side effects. We'll let you know how we get on with these. One final tip, although pretty much all of Asia has at least some areas with a 'low risk' of Malaria unless you are staying specifically in these areas for over a month consecutively then you don't need to take the tablets (this is the advise we were both given from NHS Travel nurses but please speak with your local NHS Travel Nurse to get the best advise). Likewise we've bought Mosquito Bracelets off of Amazon which are actually pretty cool and a tonne of Mosquito sprays to keep those little buggers away!!!
"We're now 6 months into travelling and first wrote this blog before we left the UK. Although we both still agree that all the injections were necessary, both of us, would second guess whether or not it's worth buying Malaria tablets at all. This is because so far neither of us have taken a single tablet and likewise, neither has anyone we have met. Now, we and I'll repeat this, we are not in anyway advising you against bringing them with you, but what we would say is have a really good talk with your travel nurse about whether or not you need to purchase them, depending on where you are travelling to." (you will still get bitten to s*** though)
Now, if you are sitting there thinking “Oh no! I’m going to China and Allgonerogue hasn’t featured that country on their list...” Fear not. Head over to www.boots.com and use their travel vaccination quick check tool - it will provide info on any extra vaccinations needed for the countries that are not on our list. We'll also add China when we travel and live there in second year.
Get those jabs booked in and get travelling!