I’ll be honest, travel vaccinations are not the most fun part of travelling, but they’re necessary. I’ve had a bit of an issue with needles for years (despite being a pharmacist and having to give flu vaccinations). Every time I get any kind of vaccination my body breaks out into a cold sweat and I look like I’m about to faint. Don’t look at me like that, it’s a common problem!
Despite my irrational reaction I always make sure to get vaccinated. If you’re off on a big trip to exotic lands, you’ll need to take into account the possibility of needing some travel vaccinations yourself (no matter how scary that might be). But where’s the best place to get travel vaccinations in Ireland? How do you book an appointment? How do you deal with needle phobia? Well, luckily for you, I’m here to guide you through the whole process from start to finish and hopefully answer all of your questions along the way.
Getting Travel Vaccinations in Ireland – Your Guide
The Importance of Travel Vaccinations
Travel vaccinations are essential in order to prevent you from contracting a tropical disease. They could literally save your life. Nobody wants to arrive in paradise only to be infected with yellow fever the next week. Despite this glaringly obvious positive for travel vaccinations a surprisingly large amount of people either forget or choose not to get vaccinated.
However, if you contract a tropical illness while abroad and have to be treated, the majority of travel insurance companies won’t cover the cost of any treatment if you didn’t get vaccinated prior to travelling. Treatment for a tropical disease will likely be expensive and could cut into your holiday time significantly. Also, treatment in certain countries or regions can be hard to get and can sometimes be in less sanitary conditions than we might expect, potentially leading to other infections.
Certain travel vaccinations are also a legal requirement for entry into some countries depending on where you are coming from. SO, what I’m trying to say is, just get vaccinated! It’s better for your own peace of mind and that of your family/loved ones. When it’s so easy and relatively budget-friendly to get your travel vaccinations in Ireland, there really is no reason not to.
Tropical Medical Bureau Locations in Ireland
The Tropical Medical Bureau is my #1 choice for my travel vaccinations in Ireland. Established in 1988, the Tropical Medical Bureau is the leading travel medicine clinic in Ireland. Each year they see and treat more than 20,000 patients across the country. They are the 5th largest vaccination clinical group in the world.
So you can be sure that you’re in good hands with the TMB. There are plenty of TMB clinics in Dublin and dotted around the country from Cork to Carlow and more. I got my vaccinations at the Grafton Street clinic in Dublin. Find your nearest TMB clinic here.
Booking Your Appointment
To book your appointment all you need to do is email or call your chosen Tropical Medical Bureau clinic. You’ll be given an appointment for as soon as possible (the summer months fill up quick). I recommend booking your appointment for at least 5-6 weeks before your departure date. If you’re going somewhere particularly adventurous then 8 weeks might be necessary.
This is due to the fact that some vaccinations, such as rabies, are given in a series with weeks between each vaccine. So you might need a second or third appointment after your first. The day before your appointment you will receive a phone call reminding you of your appointment and asking you to arrive 10-15 minutes early in order to fill out paperwork.
How the Appointment Works
On the day of your appointment with the TMB make sure to wear a loose, ideally short-sleeved, top so that your arm is easily accessible to the nurse for your vaccinations. Once your arrive for your appointment you will be given a form to fill in.
The form mainly consists of questions about your medical history and details of what countries you’ll be visiting on your trip. Once you have returned your form you will have a consultation with a doctor.
The doctor will take you through all things relating to travel health (vaccinations, malaria, minor ailments, sun protection etc), tailored to your specific travel destinations. Your doctor will recommend which vaccinations (Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Rabies, Hep A etc) you should receive and will also give you a prescription for malaria prophylaxis tablets if necessary. Sometimes your doctor will put other things on the prescription such as re-hydration sachets and an antibiotic cream in case of skin infections.
Any further appointments needed for later vaccinations will be scheduled while you are with the doctor. During this consultation you can ask the doctor about any concerns you have. Once you are finished with the consultation you will be directed back into the waiting area. A nurse will then call you into the treatment room for your vaccinations.
The vaccinations are administered into your non-dominant arm (for me that’s my left arm). Then after a couple of minutes to make sure you don’t faint, you’re all done. Your vaccination record book will be stamped at reception and you’ll pay your bill there.
Dealing With Needle Phobia
OK, so this is the important stuff. How do you, and the Tropical Medical Bureau, deal with needle phobia? Well, as a testament to their service, I must say that my recent appointment was the first time in my life that I did not break out into a cold sweat and nearly faint after my vaccinations. So they must be doing something right!
When you fill in the medical history form upon arrival make sure to mention that you have a fear of needles. Then, when you are brought into the treatment room by the nurse make sure to remind them that you are a bit (or a lot) uneasy when it comes to needles. If you are prone to feeling faint the best way to have your vaccinations is lying down. That way, even if you do faint, you won’t fall. I also never look at the needle during injection. I stare at the wall, or close my eyes.
Make sure to relax your arm as much as possible as that will reduce any pain (not that there’s much). If you’d like to have someone with you during the vaccination process that is absolutely fine too. The nurse will chat to you to distract you while they administer the injections. You’ll be too busy chatting back that you’ll hardly even realise you’ve had your vaccinations.
The nurse even gives you a lollipop afterwards for a bit of a sugar rush! If you’re travelling with children then that’s a whole other kettle of fish all together. I’d recommend that you read this guide to travel vaccinations with kids to make sure that you’re fully prepared for the chaos!
What to Expect Post-Vaccination
The majority of people who get their travel vaccinations in Ireland have no issues post-vaccination. However, I would always expect a degree of tenderness in the injection area. Some vaccinations have more side-effects than others. All of this will be discussed during your appointment with the doctor. I’ve had small red lumps appear around injections sites and felt a bit unwell for a day or two, but after that I was completely fine.
If you have any concerns you can call the TMB 24/7 emergency phone number for medical advice. That’s one of the extra services that I feel make the Tropical Medical Bureau the best place to get travel vaccinations in Ireland.
Other Travel Essentials and Services
The Tropical Medical Bureau is not JUST for travel vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. The TMB also has a travel shop (travelshop.ie) where you can pick up insect repellents, first aid kits, mosquito nets, tick-removers and more.
The Tropical Medical Bureau also offers a post-trip screening service to check for any infections upon your return home. The doctor will go through the warning signs during your consultation, so if you notice anything unusual or worrying when you arrive home make sure to get it check with them.
Signs of tropical diseases, such as malaria, can take months to appear, so keep that in mind if you feel unwell, even up to a year after your trip. One of my favourite services offered by the Tropical Medical Bureau is their 24/7 emergency helpline which I mentioned above. So if anything happens to you while you’re away and you can’t find a local doctor or need urgent medical advice, you can call them. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s a nice little safety net to have.
Have you gotten travel vaccinations in Ireland?
Did you use the Tropical Medical Bureau?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer it.