David Coveney

Jabs, bookings and planning for Peru

Well, finally, the whole Peru and South America trip is coming together. By the end of today I’ll have the flights booked, including a return three day stopover in New York. You might ask why I’m going via New York when there are slightly easier and more direct routes from Spain – but for the small extra premium I get to visit an extra place that I can’t otherwise easily nip to.

The jabs are proving a pain. In the UK these days it’s almost impossible to see a doctor unless you’re dying, at which point they send you to accident and emergency anyway. And if it’s not urgent you can’t make an appointment to see them except on the day you’re ill – but if you can’t get through by about 9:03am and all the slots fill up… tough! Try ringing tomorrow. In other words, unless you’re really ill, or prepared to make a fuss, you’re not seeing a doctor. You can visit a nurse at the drop-in centre of course. She’ll look at you, decide you’re not dying and then hand you a leaflet telling you stuff you already know or tell you to see the doctor. At that point you might be able to get an appointment to see the doc. It’s terrible in terms of preventative medicine :o(

Uhm – where was I?! Oh yes – jabs. I need… Oh, they won’t actually tell me. Have to pop in to a drop-in centre. No appointment, no clues about when it’s best to go in… just turn up and be seen. Then they tell the doctor’s, who do a prescription, which I then have to pick up and take back to the drop-in centre. I’m not sure if they’ll then immunise me or if I have to go back again… but sheesh. It’s no wonder people feel frustrated – in the modern world, with macho management practices putting employees under pressure, it’s making NHS healthcare unavailable to anyone except the noisy or those with lots of spare time. And not, I suppose, very accessible to the people who pay for it. Oh boy, that sounds horribly like a Daily Mail style of rant. Hmmmmmm…. Maybe time to go private like I have done with dentistry. Expensive, but you do feel cared for and that’s a big part of it.

Anyway, after a bit of googling, it looks like the required vaccinations I need for a trip to South America which takes in a lot of the continent are probably:

  • Malaria
  • Polio (may be already ok)
  • Tuberculosis (never been immunised but may be immune anyway – need to check)
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever

I had a few jabs for a trip to Taiwan, so hopefully some of those won’t be necessary.

The BBC has a a good page about immunisation requirements in general, for UK based travellers here.

The flight will cost about £700 all in – just waiting to get one more quote, in case it comes in significantly cheaper, and I’ll then book it. Should be done today, hopefully.

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