Medical preparation for travel abroad for an international adoption should begin within a few months of the initial paperwork for the adoption. A common mythology about travel preparation is that it occurs a few days before the flight. Some vaccines that are needed for travel cannot be administered and completed within a few weeks of travel, but rather require at least six months for the completion of the series to produce life-long immunity. A common misconception is that a person has to wait until a few weeks before the travel date to get vaccines or else the vaccine won't work anymore if it was administered too long ago.
Prescriptions for medications that are commonly brought on an international trip for parents as well as for the child to be adopted should be obtained weeks in advance, along with adequate accompanying instructions from a family physician or pediatrician, and in some cases an infectious diseases specialist/ travel medicine specialist like myself. Most physicians do not feel comfortable with travel medical instructions but my practice specializes in this area of medicine and I enjoy helping families prepare for their travel to adopt a child. For parents embarking on parenthood for the first time, it is especially imperative that we schedule a meeting to discuss the basic health issues of children including feeding, common illnesses, and behavioral considerations.
For those families who would like to research the requirements for vaccines for travel to specific countries, contact the CDC International Traveler's Hotline at 404-332-4559 or fax 1-888-232-3299 or on their website http://www.cdc.gov; note that this is only a general guide and should be accompanied by a consultation with a physician with travel medicine experience. Please note that vaccines for adults are not covered by most health insurance companies.
|This page last updated November 26, 2007 9:11 PM EST|