Last week, we received this inquiry from a reader. There is lots of confusion about what types of vaccinations are needed. Months ago, we published Super Germ-Fighting Family that covered some of the concerns and decisions we made about health, before we moved here.
Reader question: (inset)
I am wondering what vaccinations you had or recommend having prior to arriving in Cuenca. I will arrive sometime in June 2011. My travel office here is saying I need the following to the tune of about $350 US dollars – is that true or do I need only some?
- Yellow fever
- Malaria pills
- Hep A/B
Thanks so much for your advice…..
Good question. From our experience, the travel clinics don’t really know what they are talking about. They have books and charts, but they are only good for sticking the needles, not telling you the ones you need. And they (the for-profit ones, at least) have a significant conflict of interest – where the more needles they give, the more they get to charge you.
If you are coming (only) to Cuenca, Ecuador you don’t need to worry about yellow fever (its east, in the jungle) or malaria (its primarily west, on the coast, but can exist in the jungle).
Typhoid is a good idea, and isn’t too expensive. Tetanus should be up-to-date where you live, as should Hep A/B. They are just standard ones, regardless of where you live. Diphtheria is a standard vaccine, I believe.
When we moved, we even got rabies shots. They are crazy expensive, and as it turns out, we didn’t really need them. Our vaccines (in Canada) for the 3 of us, cost more than $2000. Ouch!
About Yellow Fever: If you don’t get the shot, there are some limits on where you can travel from Ecuador. Like, for example, just about everywhere else in South America. The other countries don’t care that you were only in Cuenca – because Ecuador has it, they consider you as having it, unless you can produce the certificate to show that you have the shot. If you are returning to Canada or the United States, its not a concern.
Please keep in mind that I am NOT a doctor. I am only sharing my experience. Do your research and talk to the clinic again. We called a couple different clinics and ended up going with the most knowledgeable one. Hope this helps.