I am goint to costa rica and was wondering if I should get the hep B shot, as my nurse isn't sure. I will be volunteering in an orphanage and school. I understand that it is recommended for people going to costa rica for a long time, but I will only be there for two months.
I would appreciate any advice,(maybe from past volunteers) thank you in advance!
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend Hep B vaccinations for those visiting intermediate and high risk countries. Costa Rica falls into the intermediate risk category. Though Hep B is transmitted through contact with blood and other bodily fluids, spending 2 months working in an orphanage could be a real source for exposure. The length of time in the country has less to do with it than the activities in which one will be involved. Personally, I would opt for taking the inoculations as a precautionary measure considering the work environment.
The choice is your own and something you need to discuss with your health care provider (as it seems you have). Did you tell them what you will be doing while in country? I also realize that the vaccinations can be expensive depending on where you live. In some countries with socialized medicine, the jabs can be had more cheaply through a travel health clinic or other programs. If you haven't taken the Hep A vaccinations yet, you can receive both Hep A & B vaccines as a combo (Twinex).
CDC - Hep B - Costa Rica
TP Travel Guide - Hep B
Hepatitis B (or A for that matter) is extremely rare in Costa Rica. To be protected, you need 3 shots, spaced over a period of 6 months (source: Clinicabiblica.com in San Jose) AND be careful with whom and how you get physically in touch with another person (blood, saliva)