I decided to travel to Senegal for Black history month for a week of museums, historical sites, and learning about the Senegalese culture. I purchased my hotel, airfare, and excursions for preparation for my journey. While checking off items on my list, I discover next on my list are immunizations suggested by the CDC. Visiting certain countries around the world often require multiple immunizations due to illnesses passed onto humans by mosquitoes, parasites in contaminated water, animal bites, bacteria, and many other organisms causing sickness and even death.
The CDC suggests the following immunizations when visiting Senegal:
- All Travelers: Routine vaccines (Measles Mumps Rubella, Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Chickenpox, Polio, Flu)
- Most Travelers: Hepatitis A, Malaria, Typhoid, Yellow Fever
- Some Travelers: Hepatitis B, Meningitis, Rabies
The easy part is determining what the suggested immunizations are prior to travel. The hardest part is getting all the immunizations completed. Some doctor’s offices may refer you to a standalone travel clinic, which can supply all your needs at a cost. There are ways to minimize the cost associated with obtaining all the recommended inoculations.
The first thing to do is call your medical insurance company to understand your benefits and how to have them work for you. Second, call pharmacies like Walgreens or Fred Meyer to find out what immunizations they can provide. Third, if you need the Yellow Fever vaccination this one is on limited supply and you may only be able to get it at the Travel Clinic. The Travel Clinic in my area has the Yellow Fever vaccination but charged me $70 for the office visit and $200 dollars for the vaccination.
Yellow Fever is one of those vaccinations in short supply, therefore many facilities who are authorized to administer the shot do not have it in stock. Because of a total depletion of their supply of YF-Vax, the manufacturer (Sanofi Pasteur) has worked with CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration to make an alternative yellow fever vaccine, Stamaril, available at select locations until YF-Vax supply returns, which is expected by mid-2019.
The suggested immunizations listed above for all travelers, most travelers, and some travelers can be administered from your local pharmacy. I received most of my immunizations from Walgreens and was able to get to get a Cholera vaccination from Fred Meyers. Note: The Malaria vaccination may require a prescription, which you may obtain from your primary care physician.
Once you obtain all your suggested immunizations, please take extra precautions by drinking bottled water, spraying bug spray on yourself (with at least 20% DEET), and take hand sanitizer. Ensure to give yourself plenty of time to obtain your immunization, due to a potential limited supply, cost, etc. The Yellow Fever vaccination was the costliest immunization, however, my insurance paid for the rest of the immunizations at 100% beside Malaria which was a $10 co-pay. You can drastically reduce the cost of the Yellow Fever vaccination if you are able to find a clinic or pharmacy that can administer it and your medical insurance will cover it. My medical insurance covers Yellow Fever with an in-network provider at 100%, however, out-of-network is at 60% after satisfying my $1000 deductible.
My advice to travelers is do your research! You can drastically limit your immunization costs.
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