Thursday, November 20, 2003

How to save megabucks

Yes, that's me.  Your purveyor of useful travel tips. Here's a good one: If you're going to go someplace for which you need shots, get them at a travel clinic.

According to the CDC website, travellers to Fiji need: HepA, HepB and tetanus shots (if not current) and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults.

You've already heard the story of my tetanus shot. I also got a HepA and the first of three HepB's. Here's what I might have left out: Each shot costs $100. And they aren't covered by my insurance. I can't recall whether that's true for the tetanus -- but just covering myself from Hepatitis A and B is going to set me back $400.

And now... the polio vaccine. Being as my doctor isn't a pediatrician, he doesn't have a supply of the stuff on the shelf. He therefore wrote me a prescription for it. 0.5 mL of Ipol. The plan was for me to pick it up at the pharmacy, then bring it to him and get shot with it.

So far so good -- except it got called in to the wrong pharmacy, so things were all messed up, and we decided to try again this week. I'm leaving next Wednesday, so we set my appointment for Friday. They called in the prescription yesterday. My pharmacy doesn't stock the shit regularly either, so they had to order out. Today it showed up. I went in to pick it up and was presented with a bill for three hundred dollars. Now, okay, I was expecting $100. But $300? For a single freakin' polio booster. Come ON.

Turns out, you can't just buy 0.5 mL of the stuff. It comes in 5 mL vials. In other words, I had to buy myself TEN DOSES of polio vaccine, just to get the one I need. Have these Ipol people got a scam running or WHAT?

Now, if I had more time, I would've cancelled my vaccination appointment then and there, and made an appointment at my local travel clinic for a dose of what I'm certain would have been reasonably priced Ipol -- but since I couldn't guarantee I'd be able to get to them before I go, I'm stuck with the original plan. And the leftover Ipol.

I can't exactly auction this stuff on eBay. D'you know anyone who needs polio vaccine? 

1 comment:

pegluh said...

So you're supposed to round up 10 friends and go in for a collective polio vaccination session?