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What Vaccinations are needed???
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inspector gadget



Joined: 11 Apr 2003
Location: jeollanam-do in the boonies

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 6:55 am    Post subject: What Vaccinations are needed??? Reply with quote

Search turned up empty. I have accepted a job in SK and will be there in the begining of July. The CDC website stated that Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea are relatively safe and should be treated the same as a traveller going to the states as they are developed countries.

Have any of you gone through the process of getting the precautionary vaccinations and/or meds prior to arriving?

Would you suggest getting hep. A or B, malaria, typhoid or tetanus-diptheria prior to or upon arrival?

Reccomendations are to contact a health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance however I obviously don't have that much time.

Thanks in advance. Question
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richinkorea



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Location: Gawd Darn Hot and Sunny Arizona !

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You went to the CDC website but you are going to defer their advice in favor of what you might receive on a message board ?

Fine, my advice:
Hep A and B
Tetanus (booster)


There are several clinics in Korea that can hook you up.

I didn't doing anything special the first time, had some shots prior to venturing father afield though.

www.lonelyplanet.com has some good info, www.cdc.gov is the best though (and you went there).

Medical advice should be asked of and given by trained professionals.


Last edited by richinkorea on Wed Jun 18, 2003 11:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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inspector gadget



Joined: 11 Apr 2003
Location: jeollanam-do in the boonies

PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rich, perhaps my post was misleading, I am going to consult my doctor about vaccinations therefore I would not take the advice of posters on the board over the professionals. Having said that, I thought I would ask the questions as a result of my limited time frame to see what or how others went about getting vaccinated.
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Blue Flower



Joined: 23 Feb 2003
Location: The realisation that I only have to endure two more weeks in this filthy, perverted, nasty place!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before i came over here, i got Hep A, (already had Hep B), tetanus booster, and polio. Wish I had got Typhoid. Definately recomend the Hep A and B though, since you are working round kids, you never know who is a carrier, and all it takes is for you to lend them a pencil - coz they never have thier own, they chew on the end, you get it back, chew on the end, and whammo, you could have hepatitus. nice. Would also love to get the aids, sars, and fancephalitus, but unfortunately little ole new zealand didn't have them in stock.
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HamuHamu



Joined: 01 May 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little off....but does anyone know where I can get my HEp A & B booster shot in Seoul? I was pressed for time when I came over here, so my doctor did the TwinRix HepA/B which is a fast-track version of it, and then you need a booster in a year. I decided to stick around longer than a year here, and it's time for the booster.

The regular doctor I go to speaks English very well, but he claims that he can't give me the vaccination because the Hep A booster is for people with Blood type 'A', and the Hep B for 'B' type blood. Considering he studied medicine in the States, and speaks perfect English, I don't know how on earth he and I are not communicating over this one.

So now I need the last shot in a Hep A&B series and have no idea where to go...

Help's appreciated!

Oh - and if you know how much it costs (appx) that would be great too!
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That a/b thing is bollocks.

I had polio, hep a boster before I left.

I'm blood type A and was going to get a B boster but my blood test said that I had sufficent immunity so it wasn't an issue.

Thyphoid is one you might want to consider. I decided against it, but consult with your doctor.

This webpage was very useful as well.
http://www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport.asp?UnqID=0.4155666&PageID=10

cLG
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waterbaby



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: Baking Gord a Cheescake pie

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HamuHamu wrote:
A little off....but does anyone know where I can get my HEp A & B booster shot in Seoul? I was pressed for time when I came over here, so my doctor did the TwinRix HepA/B which is a fast-track version of it, and then you need a booster in a year. I decided to stick around longer than a year here, and it's time for the booster.


I don't know where you can get one in Seoul as I got my booster in Pohang but it wasn't TwinRix, it was something else.

However, when I got back to Oz, I had a blood test for a medical and it showed that my antibodies weren't sufficient enough so I had to get yet another (my fourth) hep a/b injection Crying or Very sad WAAAAH! Crying or Very sad . It's good to check this out because you might think you're safe from infection but in reality you're not.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No shots are required for Korea. Hep shots are voodoo science.
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OiGirl



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Location: Hoke-y-gun

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are in the States, when you go to the Public Health Department (usually have to make an appointment forthe Travel Vaccination Clinic,) they will probably go to http://www.cdc.gov/travel/eastasia.htm and print out the information for you.

I have never worried about malaria in Korea. It is perhaps becoming more of a problem, but, hey, have a gin-and-tonic each evening! Razz Or, if you sleep with a fan blowing on you, the fan death will get you before the malaria does!
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mokpochica



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I gave blood in the US, they said that malaria was only a problem in the DMZ and the northernmost areas of South Korea. Anyway, malaria medication is very controversial. It has been said that you have more of a chance to catch the disease when you take the meds as a preventative measure than without taking them at all (and just taking your chances).

Out of the Hepatitis shots, Hep B was recommended, and I was told Hep A was optional. The incidence of Hep A in Korea is no higher than in the States or Canada. I knew one person that had the Japanese Encephalitis shot to come here, but you can see from the website posted that it is no longer common in Korea.
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gajackson1



Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Location: Casa Chil, Sungai Besar, Sultanate of Brunei

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in general, I'd agree with posco on this one.

However, something else needs considering: MOST teacers choose to holiday/vacation over in SEAM/I; if you are thinking about Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, etc., you should include those in your checks of places.

Glen
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Barefootbelle



Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject: Vaccination research Reply with quote

I did a bunch of research on this subject and this is what I turned up. I emailed a friend who is an infectious diseases doctor, which makes up the bulk of this post (in quotes.) I also visited my doctor who just happened to have a visitor in his office whose surgeon father had just returned from Korea and is an experienced traveler. Online I visited the CDC site (http://www.cdc.gov/travel/eastasia.htm) which had been redesigned since my first visit and is much more user friendly. The Lonely Planet site was recommended and if you go to the Thorntree section under Health (http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/categories.cfm?catid=29) there is a very comprehensive thread. I also consulted the book Dr. Melissa Palmer's Guide to Hepatitis & Liver Disease: What You Need to Know which was extremely helpful and very accessable to the layman. On to the research.

"1) Make sure your tentanus is up to date."
Remember tetanus/diphtheria is good for 10 years.

"2) Hep A (at least the first shot of the two shot series a few weeks before you leave)."
One shot is good enough for coverage, the second shot six months after the first is a booster that gives permanent immunity unless you already have Hep C, or an impaired immune system. Hep A is actually not a huge threat though it can mean being fatigued and yellow for 6 months. You actually may have had it as a child because children don¡¯t show symptoms and no one knows they have it until Mom or Dad gets sick after changing diapers. It doesn¡¯t hurt to get the shot anyway (well, it does, but just for a second.) Side effects are fatigue, headache and a sore arm where you got the stick.

"3) It would not be a bad idea also to get Hep B (a three shot series) if you have not already been vaccinated or documented to have already had it."
Hep B is Hep A¡¯s nastier cousin, but it¡¯s harder to get. It requires direct blood or bodily secretion contact so unless you¡¯re a vampire, a sex fiend or you like to play with needles¡¦ Hep B has a death rate of about 1% according to the CDC but a 30%-90% chance of becoming chronic. It can also lead to things like cirrhosis and liver cancer, both of which end your drinking career and can kill you. You can have all three shots condensed into a 2-month period, but the FDA hasn¡¯t approved it. However you do not need to start over again if you get shots 1 and 2 at home and then get a different brand for shot 3. If you¡¯re really worried about getting the same brand, ask the nurse for the box. And as an added bonus you will be immune to Hep D. Check out the CDC site for more information or, if you can, find the Palmer book.

"4) Unless you are going to be in a rural area in Korea there is little need for Malaria prophylaxis. You should take malaria prophylaxis if you are planning on going to any part of Thailand."
Go to the Lonely Planet Thorntree Health branch for more info on different kinds of Malaria vaccines.

"5) I am not particularly familiar with the JE vaccination, and if you're not planning on being in any rural areas of Korea, I don't think your risk is that high. I would be more concerned for the potential of JE and mosquito borne diseases/virus in Thailand. With appropriate precautions and repellents, vaccination may not be needed. It's really a toss up. If you know you're going to an area with an outbreak, it's better to get it and be safe. If there's no outbreak, and you're not going to be anywhere rural for prolonged periods, probably okay without it."
Japanese Encephalitis is endemic in Korea and animals are reservoirs for the disease so an outbreak doesn¡¯t have to be human. However since it¡¯s mosquito borne you¡¯re ok as long as it¡¯s too cold for mosquitoes. Avon¡¯s Skin So Soft is a great repellant. This vaccination is also staggeringly expensive. I¡¯ve seen quotes between $85US and $110US and that¡¯s for each shot of the three shot series.

"6) Typhoid? Typhoid you probably don't need to worry about. Although it is recommended, typhoid is pretty easy to treat...unless there is high antimicrobial resistance. So that's a toss up too. If you're going to be in clean hotels and eating in clean places, you probably don't need it. If you're going rural, or eating a lot off the streets or staying off the path, you might want to get it."
My doctor concurred which is great because a friend told me that the typhoid vaccine made her tremendously sick.

"7) Rabies. Don't think you need it. Just don't go around petting any monkeys, dogs, or other animals."
Doesn¡¯t it suck when your friends can predict you¡¯re going to want to pet the first monkey you see?

"8] Wash your hands with soap and water. Good idea to have Purell or alcohol based hand gel in your pockets...especially if you are in places where the restrooms look suspect and you don't want to touch anything."
Let¡¯s keep in mind that he just came back from India with pictures of bathrooms that horrified him. ¡®Wash your hands with soap and water¡¯ ¡© sheesh, I was planning on spitting on my hands and rubbing them on my jeans until he said that Wink.

"9) In Thailand especially, try to drink only bottled water where you have either broken the seal or witnessed the breaking of the seal. It's not uncommon in certain areas for water bottles to be refilled and resold. You might want to brush your teeth with bottled water too."

"10) Avoid any uncooked vegetables or fruits unless you can peel them."

And the daughter of the globe trotting surgeon said to load up on Pepto Bismol tablets. She said 2 tabs 3-4 times daily will wipe out 90% of travelers¡¯ diarrhea. (Would you believe me if I swore those were the words she used and none of us batted an eyelash at the time?) She also suggested a prescription for antibiotics for that killer cold we¡¯re going to get the first winter (to stave off opportunistic cooties hanging around) and for the ladies, picking up a yeast infection kit because it might be hard to find and who wants to try and explain the problem to the pharmacist?

Also interesting is that Borders Books and Music full employees get their health insurance through Aetna and the plan (currently) covers travel vaccinations. They will pay you crap and probably treat you worse, but the insurance kicks in after 1 month full time. The discount is pretty good too, especially in July and December when they have an extra discount weekend. Boy, I am going to miss that discount.

Helpful?
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Homer
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's not go overboard here.

Basically you could (and perhaps should) get the following shots:

Hep. A & B
Tet. booster
Update your other vaccines (polio for example).
and maybe Typhoid if you feel paranoid.

The rest is not necessary in Korea.

Also do not forget that we come from completely over asepticized societies that have gone germ freak on overdrive.

Best advice: call a travellers clinic and use common sense.

Or, ignore this and get 2 dozen shots for everything from the plague to scurvy, buy a rad suit and a de-contamination chamber and live in a sealed plastic bubble while you are in Korea. This way you will be completely safe from everything.
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Barefootbelle



Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't realize asking around and researching was going overboard. I merely posted all the research I had done to help others make an informed decision without having to search everywhere. Sorry if you took my good intentioned willingness to share all my research in one post as being paranoid. The list is the Centers for Disease Control, not mine and it covers all of Asia.

I'm actually only getting Hep A & B anyway.
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Homer
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barefoot,

I was making a general comment!

It was not directed at you personally.
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