We had most of the vaccinations that were advised – typhoid, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. We had the encephalitis one primarily because we were originally planning to be in south east China at the start of the rainy season, which is the worst place at the worst time, and we might have skipped the rabies shot if we hadn’t already experienced how easy it can be to get bitten (Mr Vagabond was bitten by a monkey several years ago – fortunately through clothing and it didn’t break the skin).
We wanted to avoid having a cocktail of shots all at once, so we spread them out over several months (some courses require this anyway). The only one we had problems with was the typhoid – for some reason there was a shortage of vaccine. Our GP surgery was able to give us the typhoid (eventually) and Hep B (there was a charge for the latter), but we had to go to a specialist travel clinic for the others (and pay for them). We’d already had enough Hepatitis A and tetanus shots to give us lifetime immunity (or we’d have had those too), and we’d had jabs for diphtheria, polio and TB as children, so I’m not sure if those are recommended for travellers. Our yellow fever was long expired, but we didn’t need it for Asia.
As we were planning to be constantly going in and out of malarial areas, probably the best malarial tablets to have had would have been malarone, since you only have to take it for 7 after leaving a malaria zone, but it was far too expensive. Affordable for a short holiday, but not long term travel. We’d had larium before without problems, but I didn’t want to risk taking it for such a long period. Since we would be going to chloroquine resistant areas, that left doxycicline, which has the advantage of being cheap and easily available in Asia. I ordered an initial supply from a reputable online pharmacy, which was far cheaper than the high street. Fortunately neither of us has experienced the sun sensitivity that can be a side effect.
As it happened, our six-monthly dental check up was due about 4 weeks before we left – I wouldn’t have wanted to leave it until the last minute in case any treatment was needed.
We also had an eye test and got an up to date prescription – worth doing even if you don’t need glasses as they check for other conditions.