One of the downsides of getting ready to travel extensively is that you have to get immunized against all of the many diseases the world has to offer. Yellow Fever. Hepatitis A and B. Typhoid. Tetanus… The world of germs offers many ways to either kill you or make you feel like you wish you were dead. Rather than take that chance, we decided to get our shots.
If you are in the market for immunizations, let us make it easy for you: just go to Costco. We’ve done the leg work for you, and our arms have the soreness to prove it. Like large packages of toilet paper and crackers, Costco offers the ‘fun pack’ of immunizations at a lower price than its competitors. Unsurprisingly, the service is good, the quality high.
In shopping around I looked at two ‘travel clinics’ in Tacoma and at Costco. At the Rite Aid travel clinic, each consultation would have been around 80$. So that’s 160$ out of the gate, just so they can tell us which shots we need. It was the same price at the other travel clinic I called. At Costco, the cost was 40$ per person, a savings of 50%. Here’s how it worked:
First, you go to this Costco Travel website and a buy a full service Travel Medicine Consultation. You will get a link to fill out a form. This form is really written for people who are taking cruises rather than doing open ended travel, but not to worry. Fill in the information you have for the first country you will visit, then in the notes section indicate that your travel is open ended and give a list of some of the countries you will visit. A medical doctor will be sent the form and will send you an email with recommendations for which immunizations you need. We filled out our forms and in less than 24 hours, we had an email from the doctor with his recommendations.
Now, our experience is with the Travel Pharmacist in the Federal Way store. We cannot vouch for other stores, but Elizabeth in Federal way has 25 years of experience and is excellent. After receiving our email, I got a call from Elizabeth following up with a phone consult to confirm the information and ask more questions about our travel plans so we could fine-tune the list of recommendations. For instance, the doctor recommended, based on the fact that we’ll be ‘adventure traveling’, that I get a rabies vaccine. Elizabeth and I determined, based on the LittleCunningPlan definition of ‘adventure’, whereby it’s unlikely we will ever be more than 7 days from a treatment facility (when on land), that I didn’t need to go that route. We then set up a schedule to begin.
Let’s repeat that: SHE CALLED ME and we had a phone chat for over 15 minutes where I got to clarify our plans and talk about options! In addition to her taking the initiative in following up on the on-line form, she was cheerful, friendly, and informative. That kind of service is hard to find these days.
Mike and I made our appointment together and tootled up to Federal Way for our first round of shots. We signed in at the desk and paid our measly co-pay because they had already billed our insurance, which covered almost all of it. Elizabeth greeted us, explained everything in detail, confirmed information, then gave us our injections. I’m not a happy person when I get injections. But she is so skilled I was able to take it like a champ. We made our appointment for our second round.
The day before we were due in, Elizabeth called to remind us that our second shots were due. We’ve received round number two. We have an appointment for the end of June to receive the last of the Hepatitis vaccines. That’s pretty much the last thing we have to do in the the South Sound before the long trip. So we know we’ll be hanging around at anchor here and there in our home waters for a little while. Probably sleeping.
So let’s recap: for 40$ we received an initial consult from a travel medicine doctor (who also talked to me on the phone, by the way, after I made a suggestion for their website forms), got a follow up call from the travel pharmacist and consulted further with her on the phone, got excellent service, the shots didn’t hurt, and they billed our insurance, which paid for most of these! In all, a painless and seamless experience. Thanks, Costco! Thanks, Elizabeth! See you at the end of June!