December 27, 2006

This morning was my first of several pre-trip travel clinic appointments and I’m a bit grumpy. Dishearteningly uninformed staff, painful shots, and an even more painful bill. Eek.

The doc came in insisting that I didn’t need any of the immunizations that I had requested, and instead needed (a really expensive and somewhat risky) one that wasn’t on my list. I balked, repeating that what I read on the CDC site — which went against her recos. She countered, repeating her initial assertions. Finally, I asked her to print out the info, which I then used to point out her error. Her response? “Oh. Then there’s nothing you need, since you are up-to-date on your Hep A & Hep B shots.” “What about typhoid? Japanese encephalitis?” I asked. “No, you don’t need those. Well, wait. No. Maybe. Maybe those.” Oh, God.

After some more back and forth, I finally got what I came for: the recommended typhoid vaccine, the first of three JE shots, and a prescription for anti-malaria treatment. Can’t believe that even after asking the right questions, I still almost received a yellow fever vaccine I didn’t need, and none of the ones I did. Yuck. Lessons of the day: 1) Do the research, and say what you know. 2) Ow. Flu shot has nothing on these babies. 3) This stuff is a fortune: $170/per shot and not covered by insurance. Worth it, of course — but a nasty reminder of what it would be like to pay for healthcare out-of-pocket every day. Healthcare reform, please, new Congress.


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