We haven't done any vaccinations for our DD (4 in Oct) since she was 4mo. We are going on a cruise in September with stops in Haiti, Mexico and Jamaica. DH is freaking out that she isn't vaccinated and wants to do some to prevent disease that he is worried she'll be exposed to on the ship and islands. Clearly I'm anti-vax and he is more pro (though willing to be selective and delay, obviously). I don't want to expose her to something that may actually kill her or cause irrevocable damage, but I don't want to suddenly jump on the vax ride, either. Help?
Does the cruise line recommend travel vaccines for passengers? Do you have a regular pediatrician you could discuss the trip plans with?
My thinking is kind of divided:
- This is a cruise. It doesn't sound like you're getting off the boat to do humanitarian work. Your DD will mostly be exposed to people also on the boat, which is to say, pretty much the same population as where you live now.
- This is, on the other hand, a cruise, and even if the population is largely vaccinated, food, water, etc. may be issues and perhaps some travel vaccines are indicated.
(The conflict between these two would have me consulting a pediatrician if I were in your shoes.)
- Things like norovirus and rotavirus can go absolutely nuts on cruise ships, and the rota vax is oral, and golly that might be worthwhile.
If your child is 3 yrs now, they are too old for rota vax. I would say it depend on how much time you are going to spend off the boat at each location and what you are going to be doing. If you are going to be eating off the boat (esp. not in the direct port), I would recommend Hep A vax. I know there has been a measles outbreak in Haiti since the earthquake, but I do not know if it is in the main port or out rurally (like cholera).
I would not worry about anything for the cruise itself, just lots of handwashing (and I would bring hand sanitizer, even though I do not typically use it). I am a firm believer that frequent handwashing, and showering before you go to bed after being around a lot of people help keep the germs away.
So just look at your excursions & where they are going to take you, and either cover for the things you might encounter, or do not book excursions that will necessitate vaxing.
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