We decided to use our 12 months of parental leave to the fullest, and we have hit the road for 8 months of my leave. It’s been an amazing journey (we are about three months into the trip), but one of the logistical issues about travelling with a young baby is how and where to get the routine infant vaccinations.
We were in Santiago Chile when it came time for Z to get his 4 month old vaccinations. We will be in Quito for his 6 month vaccinations (stay tuned for that post). Santiago, Chile is a great city for travel with kids. There is tons for little people to do, and the city is both safe and incredibly easy to get around. It’s also a great place if you need to do anything medically related as the city has some really great and world class medical facilities.
Now I opted to go the private medical route. I did this for a couple reasons, the first being that I wanted the best possible care for Z, and secondly because it was just logically easier. But I must disclose – this was certainly not a budget friendly route, and I almost died a little when I got the final invoice.
After a bit of research on forums, I reached out to Clinica Alemana. Clinica Alemana offers a expat medical service. You can email them your details and they will coordinate your appointment. I reached out to them a few weeks in advance, and they coordinated an appointment with a pediatrician during the two weekdays that we were in Santiago. The clinic/ private hospital is located near to one of the main shopping centres, Parque Arauco, and also to J’s favourite attraction, KidZania.
There is no metro station immediately near to the hospital, and I was too lazy to take a bus, so instead I took the metro to Manquehue and then caught a taxi to the hospital. On the first floor, just up the stairs from where you enter the building is the expat check in area. Here they will print the documents for you and tell you where you need to go. Next stop for me was the pediatrician area. I did have one slight mix up as the first doctor I was assigned did not speak English, but this was easily corrected.
Before seeing the doctor I had to pay the fee, which was about $100 Australian dollars. I was pretty Ok with that, as it is about the same as you pay in Australia if you are not bulk billing back to Medicare. The pediatrician was fantastic. She examined, weighed and measured Z, prescribed his vaccinations, and even wrote out a medical exemption for me (as we have had no success in weaning Z which means I can’t get the Yellow Fever vaccination). Best of all, she even gave me her whatsapp so I could contact her if I had any future questions (a very handy thing which came in use when we were trying to decide how high of altitude it would be safe to take Z to in Peru).
After getting all the documents from the doctor, I then had to go to the vaccination centre. I had to go back to the main floor, walk through the parking lot to the other side of the hospital, and there was in vaccination centre. Here I had to pay for the actual vaccinations, and that is where I almost died. It put me back about $350 Australian dollars. Here we hit one little snag – in Chile they don’t give infant vaccinations unless you can show the infants vaccination history to prove that they have had the prerequisite doses. This is something I didn’t think to bring with me from Australia. Luckily I got clearance from the head nurse to get the vaccinations anyway.
The whole process, while expensive and a bit time consuming, was incredibly easy. The hospital was extremely clean and modern, and I had no concerns about them administering jabs to Z. In the end I got a vaccination certificate for him, which will no doubt come in handy when I do the next round of jabs in Ecuador.
Top tip: Make sure to take a copy of your child’s medical and vaccination history with you when traveling long term.