Since our plan was visiting the Mekong area during the monsoon season we checked the vaccinations needed with the local travel clinics in Belgium. According to our experience, you'd better do this some months before your trip. We couldn't find any travel clinic that was not fully booked for the coming 6 weeks. Not even the Tropical disease center in Antwerpen.
In the end someone recommended us to try the travel clinic of the CHU Saint-Pierre in Brussels where we can go early in the morning and get one number and wait for the specialist.
And so we did it.
We went to the same CHU Saint-Pierre on different days and though we were traveling together to the same area on the same dates for the same length (30 days) doctors gave us different recommendations. Very different.
- My doctor recommended me to take the pills for malaria. My partner was discouraged to do so.
- My doctor recommended me to take the vaccination against Japanese encephalitis. My partner was told that it was too expensive and the risk was not so high. In fact he had to insist to get vaccinated.
- I had to come back for the second dose and they explained me that that specific vaccine will not last out of the fridge. My partner had a second dose to take home.
- I was vaccinated against rabies, my partner was not. In fact his doctor said that the center had run out of it (though I have my final dose the following day).
It's at least curious that two health professionals have such different opinion on the same subject.
For us, when you are traveling to areas under alert it's always better to take one vaccination more than one less. It's called prevention, isn't it?