V.A. asks from West Palm Beach, FL on April 19, 2009
Vaccines Necessary for Travel Out of the Country. T or F?
I have chosen not to vaccinate my now 18 month old son. We were hoping to go to costa rica this summer to visit a friend but my ex says we cannot legally without vaccines. Is this true and/or can anyone direct me to some web sites with information on this issue? My ex never really fully supported the vaccine decision so I am not sure if he just want to make our son get vaccines or if he just doesnt want us to go on vacation to costa.
So What Happened?™
It appears that my So What Happened" comment wasn't posted or something because I am still getting responses to a question I did not ask. So I thought i would re-post.......Just want to thank everyone for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. However, my question was regarding traveling and vaccines. I was not looking for opinions or chastisment for my decision not to vaccinate. I care about my son very much, its so unfortunate that I must defend that. That is why I have chosen not to vaccinate. It seems that people have too many judgements and opinions these days. Maybe if we could just trust and support each other as mothers rather than doubt that we know what is best for OUR individual child,the world would be a better place. Those parents who do vaccinate are taking a risk just as I am in not vaccinating. That is their choice, made hopefully with lots of research but at the end of the day a final decision made with a combination of all that information and the instinct found only in a mothers soul. That instict is different for each of us. That is part of the demonstration of Gods love in creating the uniquness of us all and His unique relationship with each one of us. If respect is given to that I feel the world would be a much better place, now and for the future. After all, our children are the future. I hope for a future of peace. Thank you, love and peace to you all.
D.W. answers from Jacksonville on April 20, 2009
I have a friend who refused to vaccine her children because she was very uninformed. Her child died of measles at age 4. He got it in the US just the same as you can get it in Costa Rica.
M.H. answers from Jacksonville on April 20, 2009
As someone already mentioned, a few countries do require certain vaccinations but vaccinations in general aren't legally required to travel.
However, I was born and raised in Panama (to the south of Costa Rica) and I know that many countries in Central and South America still use the live (OPV) polio vaccine. If your son is exposed to someone who has recently had this vaccine, he is at risk for contracting polio even if the person who has had the vaccine does not have it. Also, Hepatitis is a concern for travellers to any Latin-American country. I would not step foot on Panamian soil (or in an international airport for that matter) without at least those two vaccines.
I can support the decision not to vaccinate in the United States (many of my good friends don't vax and we discuss the issue often) because you are protected by "herd" immunity. You have the luxury of choosing not to vaccinate because most other people choose the opposite. However, that is not the case in many other countries in the world where vaccination campaigns have not been as far-reaching or successful. The decision not to vaccinate will require that you make some sacrifices and I believe that travel to central/south america or Africa is one of them.
I'm sure the risk is probably very small, however it's not a gamble I'd be willing to take.
Best of luck to you and I hope you get this all figured out and have a wonderful family vacation.
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C.B. answers from Daytona Beach on April 20, 2009
Hi V.. Just thought I'd share some info I have learned over the years from having two vaccine injured sons and another on the way that we do not intend to vaccinate.
There is actually no "herd immunity" as someone stated. The US has never actually reached the percentage that they say is needed. We have much cleaner living standards here and more treatments once one does get sick, but herd immunity is one thing we do not have.
Many, many children that have been vaccinated still get the illness they have been "protected" against and it isn't always a "lesser case" of that illness just because of the vaccine.
I find it interesting that when so many kids got chicken pox who were vaccinated and some were dying of it, the CDC simply said that maybe we should start giving our kids yet another dose of it. I guess their answer is to shoot them up again. Surely the first one didn't take or something, right?!
The younger of my two sons was 18 months old when he received 6 vaccines in one day. Within a week or two, he stopped answering to his name, began running in circles, lost the few words he had, and many other symptoms. At 2 1/2 yrs, he was diagnosed with Moderate Autism. Please use caution!!!
A child's blood-brain barrier is not fully developed until about the age of two, at best. There are several neurotoxins in vaccines that, even in "trace" amounts, can cross right over that underdeveloped barrier to enter the brain and cause countless problems for that child.
I have never traveled out of the country so I'm not sure of the rules but if I was being forced to vaccinate in order to go, I would fight that with all that I am and I would not go until I won that fight.
You are the parent. Always remember that. It is your right and your right alone to decide what risk is acceptable for your child. People who vaccinate have said to me that it's not fair that an unvaccinated child attend school with their "protected" children and risk infection to their vaccinated children. My responce to that is.... If these vaccines are so safe and work so well, what are you worried about? Shouldn't it be me who should be worried, if vaccines are wonderful and my child has none?
Research, research, research. Here are some web sites to start with.....
I know my words sound strong and harsh. Please remember that my family has lived this and is living it every day. I am currently trying to potty train my 6 1/2 yr old son with Autism. That's my goal for him right now. I love my sons with all that I am. It makes me beyond angry to know that what has happened to them was so very preventable and done to them on purpose because it was better for "the bottom line" of big pharma companies.
Please research and use caution. My thoughts and prayers are with you that you never face what we have faced.
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G.A. answers from Melbourne on April 19, 2009
This page has CDC recommendations for Costa Rica. One paragraph that stood out for me was:
"Although childhood diseases, such as measles, rarely occur in the United States, they are still common in many parts of the world. A traveler who is not vaccinated would be at risk for infection."
So I would be especially careful going to other parts of the world with my kids if they weren't vaccinated. I agree with living in the US there are enough children vaccinated to avoid a recurrence of some of the now uncommon diseases, but in other countries, I wouldn't take the chance.
But that is just my opinion, hope you enjoy your trip.
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D.M. answers from Miami on April 20, 2009
J.S. answers from Miami on April 20, 2009
Vaccines are NOT required to travel, though they are typically recommended by the government and medical professionals so people may erroneously believe they are required. I personally wouldn't use them, as I consider vaccines as health hazards. The CDC has no listed requirement for vaccination when traveling to Costa Rica. Even in rare cases where vaccination is listed as required, such as some places in Africa, there are medical exceptions that can be obtained. Here's what the CDC page says:
The only vaccine required by International Health Regulations is yellow fever vaccination for travel to certain countries in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. Meningococcal vaccination is required by the government of Saudi Arabia for annual travel during the Hajj.
Use the Health Information for International Travel information below to determine if you will need a yellow fever certificate, and find a clinic that can give the vaccination and issue the certificate.
Yellow Fever (disease, vaccination, and vaccination certificate information)
Yellow fever vaccination recommendations by country
Authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccination clinics
C.J. answers from Miami on April 20, 2009
You've already received information and the sources for WHO and CDC. You can also go to www.state.gov/travel to obtain up to date country information and you can also contact the US embassy in Costa Rica: http://sanjose.usembassy.gov/medical.html
A word of warning when travelling on an airplane and especially internationally: you do not know who else will be on that plane and what diseases they are carrying! I say this because a friend of mine took her unvaccinated daughter on a trip with her to London and Prague and the poor thing contracted polio. As best as she can tell, it was probably from another international traveller either in London, Prague or on the airplane.
You may want to seriously consider the advice given to sacrifice your own international travel at this time in favor of protecting your child.
V. answers from Melbourne on April 20, 2009
I understand why many parents chose not to have their children vaccinated. There are some risks with any medical procedure including vaccines. However, there are some risks with almost anything, including not vaccinating. There are pros and cons to everything and they should be weighed carefully.
Here in America many diseases are not likely to be contracted by a child, but an unvaccinated child is more likely to contract a disease, should there be an outbreak. In other countries like Costa Rica, the risk of contracting a disease is higher than in America. The problems that occur from many of these diseases are much worse then the rare problems that can occur from vaccinating from those diseases.
The main concerns I hear from parents are concerning autism. The only chemical that is currently used in any vaccine that may contribute to a few of those diagnosed with Autism is Thimerisol. Most vaccines no longer have any of this chemical used in them. But it is quite easy to ask to see the label of any vaccine before agreeing to its use. If Thimerisol is listed don't use it. The other main precaution you can use if you decide to vaccinate is to do it slowly, one or two at a time. It is easier to spot any reactions, and find out what caused them.
Most of the time the only reaction is a slight fever, body aches, lack of energy, and some grouchy behavior for a day or two. All of those symptoms are usually gone after a day or two. Someone posted this comment concerning vaccinating that I found a bit off
"I personally wouldn't use them, as I consider vaccines as health hazards."
I find it off because of the simple fact that exposure to the diseases vaccines are intended to prevent is a huge health hazard.
Traveling to another country with much higher risks of coming in contact with diseases like malaria, polio, hepatitis, typhoid, and cholera, should be planned carefully. Even if you don't want to risk possible reaction from vaccines, there are much worse reactions from contacting any of those diseases. Just be careful, and even if you chose for or against vaccines at least read up on any precautions to take to help avoid contracting anything from food, water, or insects.
Y.B. answers from Daytona Beach on April 20, 2009
I don't remember off-hand whether the vaccinations are set in stone as necessary. I do know that certain vaccinations are required when travelling to certain countries.
Good places to start looking are sites for: State Department and, surprisingly, the CDC (specifics were linked from State Department). Department of Health *might* be a good place, but I'm not entirely sure whether or not they have the specific info needed.
We have travelled overseas ourselves and those sites (State and CDC) are usually best for this kind of information.