On the day that the US Congress finally passed health care changes (it’s yet to be seen if actual “reform” will be achieved), we were in Puerto Veracruz (aka Veracruz City) in Mexico in search of the third and final inoculation needed to protect us against hepatitis B.
We’d had our first of a series of three hep B injections at a travelers’ clinic in Austin, Texas where we each paid $80. We got our second hep B injection in a slick hospital in a fancy neighborhood in Mexico City at a cost of $40 each.
We were due for our third and final vaccination and after asking around in Veracruz City we were told to go to the Centro de Salud (health center) where we were informed that they had hep B vaccines and (ready?) they were free. We’d arrived on the first day of a government-sponsored health and wellness push which included free vaccinations for tetanus, flu, rubela, some disease we couldn’t translate from Spanish and hepatitis B.
Of course we explained that we are not Mexican (a fact made patently obvious by our butchery of the Spanish language and the look of sheer astonishment on our faces at the notion of accessible, free basic preventative health care). Nationality, we were informed by the attending doctor who spoke perfect English, was not an issue. Less than a minute later we’d both been inoculated FOR FREE.
We’re just saying.
Tip to travelers: check for local health fairs like this where you are. They happen with great regularity throughout Latin America and they often include shots you need. It’s a great way to more deeply appreciate the culture you’re traveling in and save money on what can be pricey vaccines.
Also, the fact that it’s free does actually make the shot less painful.