Is it OK to get my immunizations for an international trip at the pharmacy?

Consumer Reports News: May 23, 2013 03:08 PM

Yes. Not all pharmacies offer the full array of vaccines recommended for overseas travel. But if one in your area provides that service, it's certainly a safe, convenient way to get the immunizations you need to help you stay healthy on your trip.

Many pharmacies provide immunizations these days, especially flu shots. Although rules vary by state, your pharmacy may also offer other types of vaccinations, such as those for chicken pox, hepatitis A and B, the human papillomavirus (HPV), pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, and shingles. Target, Walgreens, and other pharmacies that offer travel immunizations also cover the vaccines you may need for an overseas trip such as those for meningitis, typhoid, or other diseases.

Beverly Schaefer, R.Ph, co-owner of Katterman's Pharmacy in Seattle says that vaccines are well tolerated and safe to administer in a pharmacy setting. "We have patients wait 10 or 20 minutes in a private or semi-private area to check for initial reactions, which can include bleeding, lightheadedness, and fainting," says Schaefer who adds that the pharmacist can tend to minor reactions that occur.

Several insurance companies cover pharmacy immunizations, but it's wise to make sure that yours is one of them. Also double-check that your pharmacist will file the claim for you.

Finally, ask your pharmacist to forward information about your vaccinations to your doctor's office so that it can be added to your medical record.

Teresa Carr

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