Bhutan May 7, 2011

Today I was researching meds. I use a couple of websites to see what vaccinations and what malaria prophylactics are required for where we are going; The Treehouse City Guide,, and IAMAT, The Alberta Health Services site will no longer allows access to destination specific information, you must book a ‘consultation’ with them to obtain the information and vaccinations you will require. Of the two I use my favorite is IAMAT, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers, a Canadian not for profit organization that helps travellers. They have definitive answers on vaccinations and malaria medicines required for all countries.

Since my office medical plan pays for vaccinations as long as they are prescriptions, Debbie and I have been getting the shots we don’t have and boosters over the past year and a half. We are planning a few trips and thought we might as well get the shots now at no cost to us.

Malaria pills are something you have to get each time you go so they require a bit more trip specific research. The trick for getting the prescriptions and saving money is to avoid the ‘consultation’ fees charged by the private or provincially sponsored travel clinics . Sometimes you can get your GP to help out but they are not experts and must believe in your ability to research and decide on what is needed for your trip. This is not always clear cut as there are subjective decisions that have to be made. If you are uncomfortable making those decisions or your GP won’t help out, phone all the travel clinics in your area and find out their fee structure. The provincial clinic in Alberta will wave the ‘consultation’ fee if you have at least $48 worth of vaccinations at their clinic. This is not covered when you obtain a prescription, so if malaria meds are all you need you will have to pay a consultation and a prescription fee.

Although no vaccinations are required for India and Bhutan the literature suggests you get a variety of shots to protect you from numerous diseases, but as mentioned above Debbie and I are up to date and will not not need boosters. I think we can get malaria pills from our GP, at least we are going to try, it will save us $48 per traveller clinic fee and a $15 prescription fee. We will try to get these soon, as my medical plan is about to run out.


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