Travel vaccinations can be expensive and cost $1000 or more. Learn where to find general vaccination recommendations and how you might be able to safe money.
Some immunizations like yellow fever vaccinations might be absolutely required to travel to or from certain countries (e. g. parts of Africa) and you could be rejected at the border if you don't have a yellow fewer vaccination certificate. Other vaccinations might be recommended by your doctor or the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this usually depends on where you are going, how long you are staying, whether you are planning to visit rural areas, the time of the year you are visiting your age and other factors.
Research Immunization Requirements
Before you book your trip you should do some research on general vaccination requirements. Some vaccinations might not be needed in certain seasons. The CDC has a comprehensive database for you to start your research which vaccinations might be needed as well as other general advice on how to stay healthy while traveling. For further information visit http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
Check Coverage with Health Insurance Carrier
Many health insurance carriers don't cover travel vaccinations since insurers consider them elective. Nevertheless there are some insurance companies that cover preventive services. I myself made some good experience with Kaiser Permanente as they seemed to cover most of the cost but in the end it depends on the specific plan you have. I only paid $10 for my yellow fewer vaccination. Supposedly many of Aetna's plans also cover travel vaccinations. There are discussions in the forum from FlyerTalk.com on which insurance carrier covers certain vaccinations.
Visit Doctor or Travel Clinic 4-6 weeks prior
In general you should consult with a doctor or travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks ahead of your trip to make sure you have or get the necessary vaccinations. If you go in the last minute certain vaccinations might not be suitable because of the time it takes to build up full immunity and you could be required to pay for a more expensive vaccine/medication.
If you don't have health insurance or if your insurance carrier doesn't cover travel vaccinations you could easily save $100 and more if you shop around. Look for private travel clinics or check with your city and county health department since they typically provide travel vaccinations. A good starting point to find travel clinics in the United States or even other countries is the website of International Society of Travel Medicine and American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Very often you can get yellow fever vaccination at your local Walgreens or Safeway pharmacy. They might even be able to help with other travel vaccinations. You can find a list of authorized US yellow fever vaccine center at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellow-fever-vaccination-clinics/search.
Non Travel Specific Vaccinations
If you have health insurance getting routine or no travel specific vaccinations like Hepatitis A and B or Td (Tetanus, Diphtheria) from your own doctor might be much less expensive or even covered completely by your health insurance plan.