Be prepared to spend big bucks on getting vaccinations if you’re going to be venturing at all off the first world path. Though it’s never fun parting with that kind of money, I strongly consider you to get a little perspective before you turn down any recommend vaccines. I’m pretty sure if you consider how much the vaccinations cost versus how much you consider your life to be worth, you’ll realize the cost is really a pittance. As a friend of mine in health care pointed out, nobody thinks they are going to be the 0.01% that gets some crazy disease, but someone has to be. I certainly don’t want it to be me.
In the end, we went to Passport Health, a nationwide travel health clinic that had an office very conveniently located to us in Bethesda. We did a lot of cost comparisons, and in the end, they were our cheapest option…not necessarily on a shot by shot basis but when we added together everything we needed, they were. It was a little frustrating to find one place with a really low cost for once vaccine but a super high cost for another, but that’s just the way it goes. (Shouldn’t these things be standardized?) Going from place to place to round up all the shots isn’t a good use of our time (or gas), and when you throw in all the office visit fees, it wouldn’t be cheaper anyway.
So here’s how it broke down for us.
Office Visit Fee: $48 for first person, $35 for each additional person.
This fee is a one-time fee for any and all visits that occur during a two-year period. It got us a very extensive consultation with knowledgeable medical professionals, two books with health and safety information targeted to our destinations, and all the prescriptions we needed.
Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine: $135 per shot, series of 3 shots needed, $405 total
Meningitis Vaccine: $130
Polio Booster: $60
DPT (Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) Booster: $75
Typhoid Vaccine: $75
We had the option of an oral vaccination or an injection. Both were the same cost, so we chose the oral.
Yellow Fever Vaccine: $115
The other recommended vaccines for our itinerary were for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, but we have both already been vaccinated against those.
When planning your own trip, visit the CDC Travel Pages for information on individual countries, and consult with a health care professional about your individual needs. Necessary vaccinations can differ based on what area of a country you plan to visit and what time of year you will be traveling. What we needed may not be the same as what you need.
I also encourage you to “shop around” as prices can vary widely from clinic to clinic, and they definitely vary around the country. Unfortunately for us, we lived in an area with a high cost of living, and the price of vaccines reflected that. If you live in a county with a health department that provides services to its residents, check them out as they often offer the lowest prices.