Before we left for Chile, Mark suggested we visit the Amazon while we were in the neighborhood of South America. We’d been planning camping trips, so when he said “Amazon”, I pictured tents, pythons, dart frogs, and many creatures of the night. I hard “no-ed” it.
After planning and replanning some things, we decided to make a go of the Amazon in a non-camping way, but I was insistent that we get the recommended Yellow Fever vaccinations to go. After a couple of tries at finding a place that would get us the vaccine in the towns in which we were traveling, we fell short and had to call in our travel guide.
The vaccines were located in Punta Arenas, and we were informed that we’d first need to have a doctor’s appointment and then we could go ahead and get the shots in another office. However, the general doctor was not okayed to see the kids. They of course needed to see a pediatrician. This created the trifecta of points to go wrong.
Our travel guide amazingly set up the doctor’s appointments and vaccine appointments for us. We had physical documents printed out showing our appointments. We got up early and drove the 2.5 hours to Punta Areanas to our doctor’s appointments.
When we arrived we figured out where to go after realizing that the doctors appointments and vaccine appointments were in separate offices. Checking in at the doctor’s office Tuesday morning, we were told that the doctor we had appointments with called out of work for the whole week. This was a Tuesday and as far as we knew, no one had called us nor our travel guides to share this information with us prior to our appointments. Best, we were told this happens somewhat frequently. This was turning out to be a cluster.
We called our travel guide, and she begged them to reschedule us with someone else for that day but there were no appointments available until Thursday, two days later. We rescheduled them and then rescheduled our vaccines. During the process of the doctor cancelations, we realized that the kids would have to see a pediatrician and not the same doctor Mark and I would see. Our agent called her children’s pediatrician and begged for us to get appointments. We were told she could squeeze us in at 4:30pm that day. It was 9am at the time.
We regrouped over coffee, Mark literally walking up to “doc in the boxes” that we passed asking if they had any same day availability for appointments, no luck. We were going to have to spend the whole day in Punta Areanas, missing picking my mom up from the airport as well as have to come back two days later for our doctor appointments (hopefully) and our vaccines.
We made it to the kids pediatric appointments which were incredibly thorough and 100% in Spanish. This was a bit of a surprise, as we thought the doctor would just hand us the permission to get the vaccine. She did not. Both kids were put through complete physicals, and they both got good bills of health.
The pediatrician graciously asked Mark and myself if we too needed a doctor’s note to get our Yellow Fever vaccines and when we said yes she happily handed them over. This was a total blessing because that meant the only hoop remaining between us and the vaccines was the vaccine clinic. We wouldn’t have the intermediary stop of a primary care physician for adults. We had already been to the vaccine clinic, the staff knew what we needed, so we felt pretty confident that we would indeed get our vaccinations.
We drove the 2.5 hours back to Punta Arenas two days later, the lady at the desk remembered us and checked us in with ease. We walked back two at a time and got our shots for Yellow Fever (as far as we know), and then paid the market price for them which was just over $1,000 for all 4. Costly, yes, but the peace of mind of not dying from Yellow Fever is worth it.