Vaccines

by Leslie Godfrey in


Speaking of Typhoid, let's talk about Vaccines.  In December of 2014, we briefly thought about setting out a year early, but we had not started the vaccine process.  How long could it take, we thought?  Alas, quite long.  Good thing we looked into it when we did.  

T-Minus 366 Days Until Cast Off

February 17, 2015

A week ago, I was walking from Court to my car when my calendar pinged with a new calendar request:  "Passport Travel Clinic - Tuesday, February 17", Request from Andrew Godfrey.  Before I know it, my Trusty-Right-Hand-Woman has accepted the calendar entry, and there it is.  I shake my head.

While my Right Hand Woman is not much for sailboats, she knows all too well the look of a person preparing to do something crazy on a sailboat.  When she was young, her mom had itchy feet, too.  Her mother decided to sail from California to Hawaii.  The Right Hand Woman ended up living in Hawaii with her mom after that, and she tells story of horrendous sea sickness that plagued her anytime she even tried to sail.  With all the sailing nonsense we do, all the rigging projects, and now this "Passport Travel Clinic" appointment, she has to be getting suspicious.  I revise the appointment to "Doctor's Appointment" and think maybe she'll forget.  (Dear Trusty Right Hand Woman:  I'm on to you that you are on to me.)

I filled out the vaccination clinic paperwork on the internet.  The website asks me to input all of the places I intend to travel, how long I am staying in each place, and what season I will be there.…..I pull out the itinerary and start my input.  Soon, I realize that 50+ countries isn't going to fit.  So, I just insert a country or two from each region we are heading.  

We head over to the Passport Travel Clinic, meet with our Passport Travel nurse, and she is very excited about our plan.  She was excited to make the biggest CDC information booklet she had ever made (based upon the number of areas we are visiting), and she's starting a research project on best practices for prophylactic anti-malarial treatments. We will be traveling in and out of multiple malaria zones. Because the malaria in one zone is resistant to certain drugs and malaria in a different zone is resistant to other drugs, she is puzzling over which drugs we should take when.  How do people live in these areas?  Avoid mosquitos I guess.

After looking over the CDC recommendations and punching a few inputs into her computer she looks up and says:  

"Well, this is easy! You are going to need everything!"

In sum, we decide on the following vaccinations:

Hepatitis A (series of two shots), Hepatitis B (series of three shots), Japanese Encephalitis (series of two shots), Tetnus, Diphtheria and Pertussis Booster, Polio Booster, Yellow Fever, and Typhoid administered orally.

After a long meeting, we finally get wheels to the road and start our shots.  We had starved Andrew to death, skipping lunch, so the first shot made him feel a little woozy.  He held it together and Osmond The Comfort Owl comforted him with a glass of Bailey's Irish Cream in the back yard later that afternoon.  I made it through just fine, but now I'm launching into research about the Yellow Fever vaccine.  While there is risk with any of them, most of the vaccines have a very low risk of death as a side effect, except Yellow Fever.  Apparently, 1 in 250,000 people have a gene mutation that causes their entire body to shut down when they receive the vaccine.  That makes me a little nervous.  I would like to avoid that.  However, the Canary Islands and some areas in South America are on our list to travel.  So, Yellow Fever would be a risk for us unless we change our travel itinerary.  I need to consider this further.

This trip just gets more real every day.