Travel Vaccinations

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Since I am planning a trip to China, I thought I’d have a Hep. A virus vaccination, since it seems to be widely recommended when traveling to S. E. Asia.

I dutifully booked myself into a specialist travel clinic (MASTA) in London to have this vaccine, only to be ambushed by a nurse who insisted on giving me a full consultation.

Twenty minutes later another six vaccines I ought to have, had been sincerely recommended.

Apart from the possible shock to my immune system of having that many inoculations in such a short time and their potential side-effects, my concerns were accentuated by the fact that they advised me that where I was traveling to was a ‘High Risk’ malaria region. Which had not come up in any of my travel research to date.

I tactfully thanked the nurse for her advise, and declined.

Further research confirmed that where I plan to travel has no malaria risk.

What also concerned me is that this seems to be a classic sales ploy, one of using an authority figure (i.e. a nurse) to ‘recommend’ (i.e. sell) as many vaccinations as they can. As a non-medically qualified person – who am I to argue?

This also raises broader interesting questions on how exactly do we assess risk in our lives?

Clearly there are valid scenarios for having the appropriate vaccinations before traveling to certain parts of the world. But these need to be given where the motivation is due to a tangible risk, not just monetary gain or self-protection from being legally sued.

For an alternative view on travel vaccinations: What Doctors Don’t Tell You

© David R. Durham

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