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moving to Asia

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hubby's in the Army, and we just found out yesterday that we're being posted to South Korea. We'll be there for 2 years. Shelby has not had a single vax in her young life, and unfortunately I don't think I'm going to be able to leave it that way. Not only will I have to vax for the ordinary American diseases, but we all have to be vaxed against Typhoid, Hep A, Japanese encephalitis, and maybe even rabies.

Please, any advice or support? What do I need to worry about with these vaccines? I'm all freaked out now...
post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
and what can you tell me about malaria? Is there a vax? My MIL lived in Africa for most of her childhood and contracted malaria. This is something I would very much rather avoid for my kids.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
ok, she can't be vaxed for typhoid or hep A until she's 2. That is rather worrisome.
post #4 of 13
Hep A is not a bad disease in young children. But the US schedule has it before age 2, so they can be vaxxed for it.
An acute viral hepatitis with abrupt onset of fever, malaise, nausea and abdominal discomfort, followed by the development of jaundice a few days later. Infection in very young children is usually mild or asymptomatic (e.g. causes no symptoms); older children are at risk of symptomatic disease. The disease is more severe in adults, with illness lasting several weeks and recovery taking several months; case-fatality is greater than 2% for those over 40 years of age and 4% for those over 60.
You won't need antimalarials in Seoul
Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for the Demilitarized Zone and for rural areas in the northern parts of Kyunggi and Kangwon Provinces

Rabies I would only get if you are planning on travelling rurally. You still need to get to a clinic and be vaccinated after a bite, but the vax buys you a day or two to do so.

I would talk to an expert about Japanese encephalitis, because the link above keeps talking about rural areas being where the risk is.

Typhoid she can't have, and I wouldn't get the vaccine myself. It's not very effective, and you can avoid typhoid by not putting your hands in your mouth (of course, not something you can do with kids).
Who should get the typhoid vaccine?
The typhoid vaccine is not required for international travel. And the vaccine is not generally recommended for people traveling to areas where the infection is common. However, the typhoid vaccine is recommended for people who travel to high-risk areas if they plan on doing any of the following:

* Travel "off the beaten track" in small towns and rural areas.
* Travel for more than six weeks in countries where typhoid is common.
Travel and eat in areas without standard tourist accommodations.

Who shouldn't get the typhoid vaccine?
The typhoid vaccine should not be given to anyone under 2 years of age.

post #5 of 13
I've been to South Korea and I would not hesitate to take an unvaxxed baby there.

I would especially not get j.e. or rabies. j.e. can have such bad side effects and rabies...you would be able to get the post rabies shot with plenty of time, it's South Korea...I don't think you can go much further than 5 hours away from Seoul unless you leave the country,
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
we will be in the DMZ, 2 hours north of Seoul...thank you for the replies.

I don't want to jeopardize our command sponsorship. I'm afraid that if we're not up to date on the vaxes they recommend, they will deny command sponsorship, and I really, really need to be with my husband. We couldn't afford to all go non-command sponsored.

So, since we'll be in Area 1 (Dongducheon) should we get the recommended vaxes for rural areas? I understand it is pretty remote up there.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
I read that about typhoid, but we will be there for more than 6 weeks, we'll be there for 2 years.
post #8 of 13
Sorry, I assumed you'd be in Seoul.
post #9 of 13
can you maybe get some titers to see if there's any immunity there to skip some of the vaxes?
Also, I know Hep B is a big deal in Asia (as in, high numbers). Now I know Asia encompasses a huge area, and that Hep B has certain modes of transmission, but just something to be aware of.

Is it possible you could maybe start late in "catching up" before you leave and say you'll continue when you're over there but then do them all super slowly and spread out?
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
that is something that I'm considering. Can anybody tell me which vaccines I can skip doses of now that she's more than 12 months old? I know some of them I don't have to start at the beginning. I have the Vaccine Book, but it's in storage right now and I can't access it.

If Shelby's not in daycare, does she need the Hep B? The boys are both vaccinated for it.
post #11 of 13
I live in Dongducheon and haven't had any vaxes other than tetanus since early childhood. I've never been vaxed against any of the things (Hep A/B, JE, etc.) that the military claims you should be vaxed against in order to live in S. Korea. I actually lived in a rural town near Dongducheon for four years before hubby and I met and never had any health issues aside from normal stuff (colds, bronchitis, gastroenteritis on a couple of occasions, etc.).

When hubby and I decided to move back here, we debated whether to start vaxing DD (now 11 1/2 months old) and decided that an uncompromised immune system and extended nursing would offer her more protection than any assortment of shots.

We are NOT here with the military. That said, hubby was in the Army and stationed over here when we met, and I changed to a dependent visa after we got married. The powers that were groused about my vax status a couple of times, but never forced the issue. (And FTR, I was never command-sponsored, but they still gave him permission to live off-post with me, gave him BAH for off-post housing/utilities, increased his commissary allotment to reflect household size, etc.)

ETA: Of the things the Army warns about, Hep A is by far the most "real" threat. In addition to the communal nature of dining in Korea (with shared side dishes, a common grill in the center of the table, etc.) some restaurants "salvage" leftover side dishes and re-serve them to other customers. This is illegal, but not closely monitored. So when you're eating out, there's at least a chance that you're dipping your chopsticks in the same food that Kim, Lee, Park, and Hyun did before you. Hep B is fairly prevalent as well, but is generally spread through the coffee girls, drinky girls, etc. Not a real concern for me, as my infant won't be among their patrons.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you vickjul!! About the command sponsorship, we have to have it, the most important reason being that I have 2 school age children and there is no DoD school at Camp Casey, so they will have to attend the International School. The tuition there is over $10,000 a year, EACH, and if we don't have command sponsorship, we have to foot that bill.

Shelby's already weaned, I have always had a problem with adequate supply and it has steadily dipped ever since AF returned, so Shelby doesn't have that protection anymore. What a Catch-22, huh?

At least I realized that there shouldn't be any questions about vaxes on the command sponsorship questionnaire my doc has to fill out. Maybe it's something I can start and do slowly after I get there.

I just hate this rushed feeling. This is much too important to decide overnight, you know?

Again, thank you so much for your local knowledge
post #13 of 13

Hi Mesa,

I know that this is an old thread.  However, we will be moving to Yongsan and was curious about how the vax situation panned out for you.  Would love to touch base with you about it.

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