Navigating the World of Vaccinations

Navigating the World of Vaccinations

Let’s face it. The four of us are probably going to feel rotten once in awhile on the big trip we are about to take. After all, we will be eating foods foreign to us, riding public transportation, gulping some local water without meaning to, and staying in a variety of sanitary conditions. We have over-the-counter medications for the predictable illnesses that often come with international travel.

It’s not the everyday bugs we are concerned about.

It’s the bigger illnesses that cause concern and require additional vaccinations. Alli’s vaccinations are especially tricky.

The entire world of vaccines for international travel is mysterious and complex. What countries will you visit? What regions inside those countries will you stay? How long will you be there? In what order will you visit?

Getting vaccines for John, Riley and I aren’t an issue. We will get them. But one person in our family is considered “immune compromised,” which complicates things a bit. In fact, Allison’s blood results showed she had no immunity to any of the diseases, even though she had had her initial vaccinations.

We had a difficult decision to make: Do we avoid high-risk countries or take the risk and re-vaccinate her for everything, including all of the necessary vaccinations for the trip?

We chose the second option. Here is how we came to our decision:

  1. I asked medical experts familiar with Alli’s history.
  2. I researched on and off for days online.
  3. We talked it through as a family.Getting our vaccinations

We understood there is definitely risks involved either way. We needed to weigh them and come out the other side with a decision. We decided to re-vaccinate.

Once we decided we would move forward with the vaccinations, we needed to figure out the best way to administer the shots. With the help of her pediatrician, we came up with a plan that felt safe.

Allison is in the process of receiving all of her vaccinations, and fortunately everything has gone perfectly, with no adverse side effects.   The rest of us are also getting our fair share of shots for the necessary protections.

Do I have some anxiety about this and about visiting high-risk countries? Yes, I do. But what I discovered through this decision-process was that as my knowledge increased so did my courage. We made a solid, educated decision, which keeps all of us as safe as possible while still enjoying the experience and adventure.

Trust me, watching Alli get her shots is hard and scary and brings back a flood of emotions, but I choose to believe and have faith that it is exactly what is needed to be done to protect her. Once again, she proved her strength and resilience. Her courage became ours, and ours, hers.  Alli is immune to letting fear stop her about things like this.

Bottom line: When faced with a hard decision, do your research, ask lots of questions of many different qualified people, understand both the positive and negative consequences, and then trust your instincts.  You will find that as you gather the information, your courage will increase and your decision will be made with more confidence – a byproduct of courage. Oh, and be prepared. Not everyone will agree with the decision you make, making it even more important for you to base your choice on solid information.

BTW, if you need vaccinations for international travel, send me a message and I would be happy to share some contacts of people you can talk to who are knowledgeable in this area.  International clinics are a a great resource, but there are other, less expensive options.  Click here to contact me.


  1. Dora Herrera November 12, 2012 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Your family is such an inspiration! I love to hear of your working together and grounding yourself through hard decisions. Look forward to hearing about your adventures AND misadventures!

    • Jody Temple White November 12, 2012 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Thank you so much. I am sure there will be some misadventures along the way, but we are all committed to keeping our sense of humor.

  2. Debbie Hazlewood November 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I agree with Dora! Your family is such an inspiration! I know you will all have a fabulous adventure and I am looking forward to reading about it and seeing your pics! The adventure of a lifetime is just days away. You’re all very brave and I’m proud of you for following your dream! Safe travels!

    • Jody Temple White November 18, 2012 at 1:33 am - Reply

      Thnks Debbie. Saw some paddleboarders today and thught of you and Dani. How is that adventure going?

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