Vaccines are just one of those things that every traveler needs, but nobody wants to get or pay for. The farther afield you venture, the more vaccinations you will need. SouthEast Asia may be a common backpacking destination, but that does not preclude the necessity for preventive vaccinations.

Canada’s universal health care system is truly great for most health issues, and for the most part I wouldn’t change it. But one thing that is not covered is what Manitoba Health considers travel medicine. This means that any visits to a doctor for vaccinations, prescriptions or consultations are not covered. My trip to a local travel medicine clinic marked the first time in my life I have ever paid to visit a doctor, though it is still hard to argue with a $45 charge for the first visit and $20 for each follow-up.

Through my own research, I had concluded that I would need to be covered for Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Polio, Rabies, and Japanese Encephalitis. In addition, I took the opportunity to be vaccinated against H1N1 and the seasonal flu late last year.

Prior to my visit to the travel clinic, I did talk to a walk-in clinic doctor and was not impressed by his lack of knowledge. He also wasn’t able to prescribe the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine. This is where a travel clinic really becomes useful; not only are they knowledgeable and travel-trained, but they have all the vaccines on hand so

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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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