A major concern when traveling is keeping your family healthy. The last thing you want is for a family member to get extremely ill while away from home. One health precaution you can do is have immunizations for your family.
But, which ones to choose?
Speaking from a mom perspective, immunizations are a sensitive and controversial topic and almost considered a taboo in along with religion and politics. Everyone has their viewpoint and the right to their own decisions and what they choose for their children. All I want to share is what we have chosen since I have received the question a few times from our readers.
First off, do your own research on the immunizations. Depending on where you are going there are different immunizations that may be required for entry into a country and/or are at high risk. A useful link for Canadians to investigate this can be found on the government website. Do your research before you go see your doctor so you know what outstanding questions you have.
Second, go meet with your doctor and/or travel clinic for a consultation without the kids. They can provide more information and verify your research for your family so you can create an immunization plan for everyone in your family.
Third, talk about it with your spouse and make the decision together on what you feel is the right decision for your family.
So based on our need and planning for a long-term and multi-country trip these are the immunizations that our family has decided to get. Keeping in mind we don’t know exactly which countries we will be going to but have a good idea on the areas of the world we are going to explore. Also, keep in mind our kids are ages 5 & 7.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- MMR (Measles, mumps, and rubella)
- Malaria pills (available for countries when required)
- Yellow Fever *Waiting to see if this is available due to shortage in Canada
6 Lessons Learned:
- Make sure you have booked your immunizations with plenty of time before your departure. Some of them need multiple doses (like rabies) so plan ahead. We had some of the immunizations before, but it still took 5 appointments for all these. My best advice is to get these done with plenty of time in case you need to reschedule because of being ill.
- Usually, kids don’t like needles… surprise. So I have a little toy for them after every appointment so they have a prize at the end to look forward to, and sometimes that can still be challenging. It’s not a fun part of getting ready for a trip but in our eyes, it has to be done to keep our kids healthy.
- Bring an iPad or something to distract them as you are in the appointment!
- Give them some Tylenol or Advil before your appointment to help ease the pain after their immunizations.
- If you have coverage from your health care plans, check in advance on if a doctor’s prescription will allow these to be covered under regular prescriptions. If not, ask your health care plan provider if it is covered under other “spending account” in your health care. This may save you some extra money. Our overall cost for our family of 4 was $2900 CDN, so they can add up quick and we were able to get reimbursed for $1500!
- Get a print out of all the family immunizations when you are all finished. Place this with passports and if going for a long term trip have them available online for getting them if the paper is lost. There might be requirements for entry to countries so have it easily available.