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My 18 mos old has had zero vaccinations. We live in Southern California and want to go to Bali and Thailand, maybe Costa
I would prefer as few as possible, my husband thinks the more, the better. What is the minimum requirement? (He still breastfeeds.)
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There is no requirement really. It is a very personal decision and one you have to remedy with your husband. We traveled all over Asia and Central America and our children are not vaccinated. My youngest has had none at all.
I am not anti-vaccine. We went to Bali. We got all the recommended vaccinations. I can't remember what they were, they included yellow fever and such. I don't think there is a vaccine for dengue, nor malaria, both which exist in Bali. There are bugs there and it's very hard not to get bitten even using deet! The natives deal with this, they get the diseases, they put up with them and live with them. Maleria in particular comes and goes and no way to ever get rid of it if you catch it. I'd say if you are thinking of heading to Bali with an 18 month old and you're not willing to take that risk, then, don't go. You can't really go there and not expect at some point to be exposed to these diseases at least a little. There is a chance your kid will catch it, and more of a chance if you don't use any chemicals like deet or other insecticides. And you can't go there and stay in a cocoon. You can minimise your risk by trying to stay out of areas that are known to have maleria and dengue but you're never going to be 100% safe. That being said, we were there for a couple months and had no problems and I certainly got bitten quite a few times.
Please vaccinate your child, it is not a matter of 'personal decison' or opinion. The facts are very clear: childhood diseases, bug borne diseases, dirt/hygiene deficiency diseases, animal carried diseases can kill and regularly do kill unvaccinated people, and children are especially vulnerable. To go to Asian countries your child needs: All routine vaccines: These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Typhoid: You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Thailand. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater. Japanese encephalitis: You may need this vaccine if your trip will last more than a month, depending on where you are going in Thailand and what time of year you are traveling. You should also consider this vaccine if you plan to visit rural areas in Thailand or will be spending a lot of time outdoors, even for trips shorter than a month. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans. See more in-depth information on Japanese encephalitis in Thailand. Depending on where you go/do you should also look into malaria pills and rabies shots. You can not vaccinate against Dengue fever, but do avoid mosquito bites as much as you can. Please do not for a second believe this is a matter of opinion: children in underdeveloped countries who do not get vaccines die in polio, measels, pertussis etc etc. You child will be at huge risk if you do not vaccinate it. Do not rely on the answers on strangers on a forum: ask a professional, ask a specialist in immunology and/or a travel immunologist. They know what they are talking about, laymen do not. Vaccines have helped drastically reduce the number of children who get sick and die in childhood diseases and the number of travelers who get sick abroad: but do not think that your risk is reduced just because the prevalence of these diseases is smaller these days: unvaccinated people are at huge riske, especially when traveling where sanitary conditions are not the best. Read this recent article for an example of how horrible wrong it can go if you decide not to vaccinate your child: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10860122 The air, dirt, food, water, bugs: they all carry diseases. Protect your child and yourselves. You can read more here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/children/thailand
Nice trip! I think as few as possible is a good philosophy - I follow it and my kids have had almost all of them. We live in Singapore. I have a very nice doctor who runs through each vaccination and discusses our personal risks and we make a decision from there. To do this, you will need to decide your itinerary at least roughly before you visit your doctor. The advice can vary from (for example) rural regions of a country vs its cities. Food and water-borne diseases are a concern you probably don't have to deal with much at home, and an eighteen month old is at relatively high risk (hands in mouth, food and water forms most of the diet even if breast fed, and my personal favorite: drinking the bath water). Consider also your access to medical care en route if something does happen. A hospital in Bangkok might be great but if you head somewhere out of the way you will want to be more risk-averse to make up for your more limited medical access (and the fact that those around you are less likely to be vaccinated themselves so you won't get protection from good herd immunity). Questions to ask: how do you get this disease? How can you prevent exposure? How common is it where I'm going? How good is this vaccination at building immunity? What are the consequences if we get the disease? What are the usual side effects of the vaccine?
The decision is obviously down to you, but make sure you look at the arguments for and against. It might be of interest to you to know that my wife and I travelled three-and-a-half years around the world with our children, neither of whom is vaccinated. We went to Costa Rica, Bali, Thailand, India, South America etc and without any problems whatsoever. The only incident we had were parasites in Ecuador, but that has nothing to do with vaccines. One of my children was born on the road, in Brazil, but both were breastfed for reasonably long periods - my seven-year-old until three and my two-year-old is still being breastfed. Good luck with your decision and travels.
Sounds like a fun trip. Where are you hoping to go in Bali and Thailand (north, south, beaches, jungles etc) and what activities are you thinking of doing? Cheers, Tracy
I am normally pretty anti-vaccine, but a story I recently heard, made me feel inclined to answer your question. A friend told me that a family she knows have a son who contracted a disease in Bali, which they believe is from an insect bite. I think this was in 2010 and she did not know which disease. But I know that Dengue fever is a risk there. It is possible to protect ones self with insect repellant, but the kinds recommended for travel like this (for example, with DEET) are probably not appropriate for an 18 month old. But keep doing your research and do what feels comfortable to you. Good luck! Sounds like a great trip!