Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Immunizations in the UAE

Sterling had his 2-month round of shots today. It's never fun to watch your baby get stabbed with a needle, but I confess that I feel some relief knowing that he's on his way to immunity to many horrible diseases. His unvaccinated state was a small source of worry to me since there are so many weird diseases still roaming around the UAE. I know it will take more doses of these shots to confer full immunity, but like I said, he's on his way.

The immunization schedule here is very similar to what I remember from the US. However, we opted to have Sterling get the BCG (tuberculosis) shot at 10 days, which is not on the US schedule. Today, he had Hexavalent (DTPa, Hib, HepB, IPV) and PCV shots, with an oral administration of Rotavirus.

Interestingly, vaccines are not covered by insurance here. A few years ago, Sharjah ran some kind of promotion (a weird term for it, I know, but that is kind of what it was) on vaccines and they were available for free or low cost at certain hospitals, courtesy of the Ministry of Health. Today, without the promotion, I paid 757dhs (about $200) for the doses themselves, and 200dhs (about $50) for the doctor visit to administer them.

Even more interesting was the way the whole visit proceeded. Sterling had his doctor checkup first, then the doctor wrote a prescription for the vaccinations. I went to the pharmacy to collect them and pay for them (breakdown: hexavalent -168dhs, PCV - 336dhs, and Rotavirus - 253dhs), and then returned to the doctor's office to have the nurse administer them. Very DIY.

Am I annoyed that our insurance covered neither the visit nor the vaccines themselves? Of course. But I'm so thrilled that the vaccines exist that it doesn't really matter.

19 comments:

Crys said...

So the funny thing about the TB shit is that from what I understand he'll now get a false positive on his TB test, but at least he won't get TB right :). It's so funny you mention how relieved you are. My sister lives in Washington now and she asked me if I think she should stop going to church until her son starts getting his. Apparently where she lives is a hot bed of non immunizers, especially in her branch, and some kids recently were found to have whooping cough :-/

Crys said...

Haha, shot, darn my phone and auto correct :)

Liz Johnson said...

HA! Crys, I really thought you felt quite passionately about that TB shot. I'm kinda sad it was an autocorrect thing. :)

Liz Johnson said...

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE VACCINES KILLING ALL THE PEOPLE!!!!

(just kidding!)

But seriously, man, I feel like you can't even say whether you took your kid to get shots around here without attracting some sort of rant on one side or the other (in my neck of the woods, it's usually anti-vaccination). You should've seen the hysteria that ensued when the school offered flu shots to interested parties. Sometimes I think we need bigger problems so that we can direct that level of anger/indignation towards bigger things.

Liz Johnson said...

(and in "we need bigger problems," that "we" refers to me and my community who seem to think that genocide is being committed when a person is being allowed to opt in to a flu shot. just to be clear. clarity is not my strong-suit lately.)

Ariana said...

My youngest had his kindergarten shots yesterday. Our pediatrician likes to do them at 4 instead of 5, which is fine with me. He is hobbling around like an old man today (sore legs). But yay for vaccines!

Ariana said...

One child in my other son's class at school had whooping cough. Ugh! Unless you are allergic to the things, get the dang shots. That is my rant.

Kathy Haynie said...

Me, too. :)

Bridget said...

Understood. I used to feel that vibe of "The first rule of vaccinating your children is not to talk about vaccinating your children," and I still do from afar, but I don't care anymore. I am so grateful for these vaccines.

Bridget said...

Oh, that is terrifying. Whooping cough can kill little babies who aren't big enough for the shot yet!

Your mention of kindergarten reminded me that it would have been good to mention in this post that my kids get shots at school. They each had their MMR booster in Grade 1, administered by the school nurse, for free.

Bridget said...

Yes, the doctor mentioned that there is a chance of a false TB positive. I hope that doesn't happen because that would be a big pain. But TB would be a bigger pain, so I'm calling it good for now.

Crys said...

Haha ladies, and this is why I like you girls :)

Ariana said...

Exactly. The whole "but it's my decision!" argument makes me angry for just this reason. If someone's choice to not vaccinate their child caused one of mine to catch pertussis and die.....oh man....

Nancy said...

I hope my post about vaccines didn't sound too whiney when I talked about our insurance not covering it (the problem there was that we didn't realize this until we'd paid for the first appointment/vaccines and submitted the forms to get reimbursed and our claim was denied for being "routine;" it was then when we realized that it was going to be much more expensive than we thought, especially being unable (un-permitted, in truth) to work). :)

Anyway, I got shots in school, too, as a child. I think it saves SO much time, collectively. Rather than have every child's parents have to make an appointment and tie up the clinics, just bring in a few nurses to the school and herd the children through. It takes a fraction of the time. (We had release forms, which I'm sure you do, too). I think, since everyone's supposed to have them, that that's the way to go, but that's coming from someone who grew up with universal health care.

Myrna said...

The whole vaccination debacle lately--so hard to understand.

I am named after my cousin, about ten years older than me, who died of polio. Me as a little girl to my mom, "Why does Kathy's mom walk funny?" "Because she had polio." And me, thinking of my cousin Myrna who died of polio, and knowing Kathy's mom was lucky to be alive, even though she didn't walk so well...

And I, myself, had hepatitis when I was not yet six years old. Liver damage for life; I cannot donate blood because of it. Your children (and a few of mine, the younger ones) can be vaccinated against that.

It is such a no-brainer to me. The diseases are MUCH worse than normal immunization side effects. Occasionally there is an outlier reaction--just like occasionally other bad things happen. But over all, we get to live longer, healthier lives because of immunizations.

Bridget said...

Not whiny at all! I think it's ridiculous that insurance doesn't cover vaccines, considering that they are the most preventive of preventive care. But whatever.

Administering vaccines at school does make so much sense. And yes, there was a form to fill out, though it was phrased more like "if your child hasn't had this booster, they will get it at school. If they have had this booster, please send a copy of the immunization record that says so." Do US schools ask for copies of immunization records these days?

Suzanne Bubnash said...

My friend's baby died of whooping cough before she was old enough to begin her shots. Someone, somewhere, passed on the disease to her.

Crys said...

Yes they do, but depending on what state you live in you can get a variance for "religious" reasons. I read somewhere recently, the med wife maybe which was an excellent blog on immunizations, that something like ten percent of kids in California schools don't have them which is why they've lost hers immunity. I think you need 96% or more. Other states are much more stringent. my friend in the Carolinas daughter got suspended from school when she took to long to get her caught up after having her on a delayed ahot schedule. But everywhere people can choose to homeschool if they don't want to stay current. Which is why my sister is taking a four month break from her branch, because all the young mom's there are home schooling so they don't have to do shots and she wants to reduce exposure for her baby. Is that crazy or what!

Nancy said...

Crys! I laughed so hard. I didn't even notice it the first time I read it.

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