Which way to go...

Which way to go...

I lived overseas from 1991-1997 in Fiji where I worked for the University of the South Pacific as Art Director of their media centre. In order to arrange for a residency permit back in 1991, I had to make sure my vaccinations were up-to-date, especially measles, and also obtain a chest x-ray to prove I did not have signs of tuberculosis. Over the years, I’ve traveled to Fiji, around the US, UK, Mexico and Canada. But since I wasn’t migrating anymore, I did not worry about pulling out my record of immunizations.

So here it is more than 20 years later, and I’m preparing to visit Russia in May 2012 as part of my Fulbright. Checking the CDC website, they recommend making sure your immunizations are up-to-date. Since I know everything was up-to-date in 1991, I guess the only ones I would need are some newer vaccinations such as the Hepatitis B shots. CDC also strongly recommends a booster of the IPV polio vaccine prior to departure. Problem is, I can’t find my immunization records. Maybe it isn’t a big deal and I guess the good news is that I am not finding any specific requirement from Russia for proof of immunizations. But I hate to be surprised!

Thinking that I could take care of the HpB and IPV that I need, I called my insurance company. No problem, they said. Since these are normally required, they can be covered under “preventive” care. The only hitch – they will only be covered if administered by an in-network provider.

Ah, but there is the challenge! I have called a half-dozen “in-network” doctors, including my own family physician and none of them perform vaccinations, and especially not for adults. Many referred me to the county health department.

So I called the County Health Department and left a message since they do not answer the phone; there is only a recording saying that you can leave a message and they’ll call back. Surprise, surprise, the next morning they actually DID call me back, only to tell me that “no”, they did not do adult vaccinations. Their suggestion – Walgreens or Rite-Aid drugstores, start calling them to see which one of those stores would do adult vaccinations. If I figure that out if one of these stores WILL do it, I’ll be calling my health insurance company for the fourth time in about a week to find out if doing it THAT way would be covered.

How ironic is this that here I am, one of those lucky people with a “cadillac” health insurance policy that says they’ll actually cover something. But I can’t find anyone to deliver the service!

oh dear…