This is the fourth post in a series that will follow Matt and Brayde Willson’s motorcycle journey from Seattle to Tierra del Fuego over 120 days.
Brayde did a bunch of research on the CDC Traveler’s Health website website for our upcoming trip. It took a lot of time, but she was able to compile a list of the countries we’d be visiting and the immunizations we’d need. It was a pretty big list.
While trying to find my immunization records, I discovered that I had none. It had been many years since I’d had any, so I had some catching up to do. I wasn’t excited to get a bunch of needles stuck in me, but I made the appointment anyway for an advisory meeting and immunizations after. I brought in all the research Brayde had done, and the doctor also had his own computer system with recommended vaccines for different countries. He was very good about explaining which ones I’d need, which I didn’t, and the rest of the process.
Some of the new immunizations I was getting included Typhoid, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Malaria, and Yellow Fever. To my relief, the shots were virtually painless, and some of the immunizations like Malaria and Typhoid come in the form of pills. The Hepatitis shots have one or two followup shots needed, so best to get these done well before your departure date.
The shot for Yellow Fever has to be administered by a certified shot-giver person, so I had to walk down to another office for that one. Some countries require proof of immunization for Yellow Fever if traveling from countries with known cases, so this was a shot I needed to get. You’ll end up with this official-looking document to carry with you: Malaria pills can be very expensive depending on the type you need (i.e., in the hundreds of dollars). Luckily mine will be covered by insurance, so in the end, after a couple copays, I’m right on track.
With Brayde’s insurance, her experience was a little different. They did not cover travel related immunizations, so everything had to be out-of-pocket. This is quite a bit of money, so had to be added to our budget. We’ll both be much safer having the proper vaccinations though, so it is worth it.
When going on a big adventure, immunizations and health records might be the last thing you’d think of when planning but definitely a good idea, and something you’ll want to start sooner rather than later.
About the authors: Matt Willson is the product line manager at Touratech-USA. He’s been with the company for 5 years and has been riding motorcycles longer then he can remember. Matt’s wife, Brayde spent her life around motorcycles and the two have been riding together as long as they’ve been together. Brayde rides a 2007 BMW F650GS and Matt rides a 2006 BMW R1200GS