Medical bureau warns of costs of expensive jabs abroad

by Ray Clancy on July 19, 2011

Vaccination avoids further costs abroad

Family and friends visiting expats this summer are being reminded to make sure they have all the necessary vaccinations and not to forget jabs that might not be the obvious ones to consider.

The most common vaccinations for traveling abroad include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, cholera and meningococcal meningitis. Ireland based Tropical Medical Bureau said it is important to find out which jabs you need before leaving.

‘Be sure to check out the terms and exclusions, which make up your travel insurance policy, for high-risk countries. Not only could you put your health at risk without them, but you could invalidate your travel insurance cover, which can be of great help should you require medical treatment while on holiday,’ a spokesman said.

One that people often forget is Rabies. They seem ignorant of the fact that Rabies exists in many part of Europe including France and Spain although the chances of being bitten by a Rabid animal is much lower than in other countries such as India and Thailand.

The Tropical Medical Bureau had a recent case whereby a patient forewent a rabies vaccination that would have cost her €80, but ended up costing a lot more.

On her trip to Thailand, the patient was bitten and required follow up care. The cost of the initial consultation, cleaning the wound and first Human Rabies Immuno Globulin vaccine was €800. HRIG is the quickest way to provide antibodies for someone who has been exposed to Rabies but is very expensive compared to the pre vaccine.

The second vaccine was €50 and she then moved to Japan where a consultation and third vaccine cost €175. She finished off the vaccination course back home in Ireland which cost her another €130.

‘This patient’s total was in the region of €1,200. If she had received the pre-departure vaccine (approx €80) her costs in Thailand would have been about €100 maximum,’ the centre said.

‘This situation and cost could easily have been avoided if the individual had the pre-exposure vaccine. The HRIG vaccine is very expensive and is difficult to obtain in many countries including Ireland. It goes to show that cutting corners when it comes to holidaying and your health, can lead to misfortune,’ explained Dr Graham Fry, medical director at the Tropical Medical Bureau.

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