Hep A vaccination for Cancun trip

Dec 11th, 2003, 10:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4
Hep A vaccination for Cancun trip

Our medical insurance will not cover the Hep A vaccination but I understand that we really should get the shot before heading to Cancun. The out-of-pocket expense will be approximately $500 for my husband, two children and me. I called our county health department to see if the vaccines were available at reduced or no cost through them but no luck. Of course we will pay it to avoid illness but I'm wondering - is everyone shelling out this kind of money for vaccinations for travel? What are our options? Thanks! MM
mmwalsh is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 10:18 AM
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Been all over Mexico many times for 1000+ meals and never been ill.

Who suggested you get this shot - the vaccine manufacturer?
Diana is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 10:41 AM
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We've been to Mexico a number of times and have never fallen ill. Drink bottled purified water, avoid street vendors, be careful of fruit and veggies (except at the good hotels) and you should be fine.
Kat6688 is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 10:53 AM
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I have had Hep A shots. I think it was about $90.00. I got them, however, because of various travel to undeveloped places in Mexico and Central America. Before I got the shots I traveled to tourist destinations in Mexico and did not have problems. Eat in quality places, wash you hands and avoid raw shellfish and you most likely will encounter no problems.
Dude is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 10:56 AM
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I wonder what insurance is this! I got Hep A and B a year ago on doctor's order. And so did my husband. Naively I thought it's a routine procedure and always paid for. Or maybe it's an age thing?
FainaAgain is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 11:22 AM
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Vaccinations your doctor reccommends are generally covered by insurance unless the reason you need them is because you are travelling somewhere. For some reason, insurance companies don't cover preventative meds for travel, even though they would have to pay a lot more if you actually sick. Another sensible policy brought to you by the insurance industry.
Doh is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 11:28 AM
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Getting Hep A immunization is good for everybody, not only those who visit foreign countries. Look at what happened in Pittsburgh recently. 600 people infected and a few people died. Don't be sorry later that you didn't spend the money now.
Jed is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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Doh, thank you for explanation! MMwalsh, can you use a little white lie telling your doctor one of your relatives (neighbors, friends) has a Hep A and you were in contact?
FainaAgain is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 11:49 AM
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Hum....well, it's always up to the individual as to how much precaution one feels they need to be safe, but personally, I've been to Mexico and even Costa Rica several times and have never had the vaccination. Cancun is modern tourist city and should pose no problems at all! MANY people travel there without shots. In fact, I'm willing to bet that MOST do. But again, it's your choice.
Ally is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 12:43 PM
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I have been to Cancun 20+ times with no advisement or problems but only got it when I began to go to Mexico City regularly. Cancun is technically on an island (the hotel zone anyway) and most of the water is through individual purification systems and provided in bottles. When I made the appt I said I was going somewehere soon and my INS I had then did cover it except for the office visit co-pay. I would double check...I got A & B. Have a great trip !
Wednesday is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 12:11 PM
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My Hep A shot last month was only $75 (no insurance coverage) at a hopital's travel clinic. Different offices will have different prices, so shop around. If I remember correctly, the first shot is good for two years, but if I go back in 6 months for a (free) follow up shot, it will provide life-time protection.

The doctor said Hep A is a growing concern in the US and there have been several outbreaks here in Michigan at restaurants and a country club. So, you can't suppose it will only be in developing areas.
ms_wiley is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 12:44 PM
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Are there any side effects with this vaccination?
buckeyemom is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 02:25 PM
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From the Centers for Disease Control website (www.cdc.gov):

"Hepatitis A vaccination provides protection before one is exposed to hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for the following groups who are at increased risk for infection and for any person wishing to obtain immunity.

-Persons traveling to or working in countries that have high or intermediate rates of hepatitis A.
All susceptible persons traveling to or working in countries that have high or intermediate rates of hepatitis A should be vaccinated or receive immune globulin before traveling. Persons from developed countries who travel to developing countries are at high risk for hepatitis A. Such persons include tourists, military personnel, missionaries, and others who work or study abroad in countries that have high or intermediate levels of hepatitis A. The risk for hepatitis A exists even for travelers to urban areas, those who stay in luxury hotels, and those who report that they have good hygiene and that they are careful about what they drink and eat"

Elsewhere on the CDC website, the entire country of Mexico is identified as being in the "high rate" for hepatitis A category.

That's the CDC's take on hepatitis A. Now for a couple of comments from me:

-Immune globulin is much more expensive than vaccine, and provides only short-term protection.

- Whether or not you should get the vaccine is really an issue which you should discuss with your doctor.
resipsaloquitur is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 08:24 PM
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Just as an aside, my doctor told me Hep A & B shots are now part of the standard set of vaccinations/immunizations for children in the U.S. Have any parents on the forum heard of this?
-Mark "Two weeks to Belize" M.
MarkM is offline  
Dec 13th, 2003, 04:51 AM
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The vaccine requirements for children vary from state to state. I live in Iowa, which requires Hep B for kids, but not Hep A. I know that quite a few western states do require Hep A, since it's more endemic there.

I'm guessing it will only be a matter of time before it becomes a more routine, and probably required vaccine across the country. Just this year the law changed and now incoming kindergarden kids have to be immunized against chicken pox (or have had the disease).

It seems to me if you're a regular visitor to areas with lots of Hepatitis A, it is a good idea to get the vaccine.
JeanH is offline  
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