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To Hep B or not to Hep B?

Travel Forums General Talk To Hep B or not to Hep B?

1. Posted by babwoo (Budding Member 21 posts) 8y

Hi :)

I went to my doctors on Friday to make sure i was all up to date on jabs before heading off to Asia in December.

I had all the necessary ones that had run out but didn't have hep B. The nurse said i could go away and think about that because 1)it isn't mandatory and 2)There is a cost involved, about £100.

Reading about Hep B it is passed through sex...not doing that as with my boyfriend or it's passed through blood and I just think the chances of that are so slim.

The reasons behind my reluctance aren't to do with the cost of the injection but more to do with having to get to the doctors another 3 times when i work full time and my employers don't know i'm going yet. I really don't want the work agro if I don't need it and I could save myself the £100.

Does everyone who goes travelling get the Hep B jab? I've had everything else Hep A,Tetnus,Diptheria,etc etc this is the only one I haven't.

Any advice on whether I should get into trouble with work for this jab or just leave it?

Thanks :)

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4930 posts) 8y

The big risk with Hep B is when you need emergency medical treatment in a less developed country where they don't have the equipment to (reliably?) scan for Hep B. The chance of needing this is of course very small, but it's large enough that it's usually recommended to get for any trip longer than three months. (I did, although the decision was easy for me as I combined it with getting Hep A.)

Since the three jabs would be spread out between now and December, you probably only have to find excuses for the time off to get them once or twice; unless you literally want to not tell your work you're leaving until the day before...

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 4, 2008, at 10:08 AM by Sander ]

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 8y

Personally, I am of the mind that Hep B is as important as the Hep A and Tetanus vaccinations. As Sander pointed out, lesser developed countries don't have the equipment to diagnose Hep B effectively. Another major factor, in these same countries, the rate of infection through a medical facility can be high. Hopefully, you won't encounter any reason to seek medical/dental attention, but if you do - it's better to be protected. In regards to your reasoning for not getting the series - it's understandable but your health should be of greater importance than finding an excuse to tell your boss. When traveling to Central America, getting the Hep B was a no-brainer for us. I'd rather find the excuses to leave work for the jabs than not. Again, that's just a personal opinion.

As for as routes of transmission - tattoo/body piercing establishments are high on the list, especially in SEA. You may not be looking to get a tattoo or piercing while away but a lot of our members do get them. Again, better to be protected.

For more info: TP Wiki - Hepatitis B

Enjoy your travels!

4. Posted by babwoo (Budding Member 21 posts) 8y

Thanks for the replies.

Apparently I need to have the jabs on day 0 then again day 7 and then day 21 so all 3 are given to you within 3 weeks which will be difficult to explain.

We're in Asia for 6 months befpre heading to NZ, Oz and never going anywhere too remote so I'm still weighing up my options on this but you've given me a lot to think about :)


5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4930 posts) 8y

Quoting babwoo

Apparently I need to have the jabs on day 0 then again day 7 and then day 21 so all 3 are given to you within 3 weeks which will be difficult to explain.

Weird, I had day 0, day 30 and day 60 (and then will get a followup shot in a couple of weeks to make the protection last for the rest of my life).

Of course, if the schedule is that swift for you, you might go and wait with starting it for another month. (Just make certain the protection has taken hold before you leave; e.g. don't leave on day 22.)

Another thing I should mention is that long-term travelling is a tremendous stress test for any relationship. The rule of thumb is that a month on the road counts for a year at home. Many couples travelling together for a year come out stronger than ever, and will probably stay together for the rest of their lives; but likewise there's a whole lot of people who break up during travelling. Obviously that's not a scenario you want to think about, but still... a whole lot could happen during the time you're on the road, so you probably shouldn't completely discount the sex angle, either.

6. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 8y

You may also want to check around for other places you could have the Hep B jabs. Maybe somewhere can offer it for cheaper than that. A few years back the doctors in the UK I was registered with didn't charge for Hep B - but they were the only ones in that area who didn't as far as I could find out.