We sometimes get customers requesting an appointment with us but they don’t want the ‘consultation’ part.  They would prefer to turn up at our clinic, tell us what vaccine/jab  they want and we give it.  Now there are some clinics that operate in this way (they are known in the industry as ‘jabbing clinics’) but I’m proud to say we are most definitely not one of them.  There are many reasons why we refuse to be a jabbing clinic.

Firstly, it’s not safe and it is definitely not best practice.  Before we give any jab, we need some personal details.  Don’t worry – we are not selling information on or using it to spam our customers –it is a medical record and I’m afraid without this information then we can’t go any further.  We need some medical information in case there are certain jags we shouldn’t be giving to an individual.  The last thing we want to do is to give someone a vaccine that might be harmful for them.  It might also be that a traveller doesn’t actually need the travel vaccine they are requesting.   Whilst it is our job to advise on what jabs are needed, it is also our job to say what isn’t needed and no clinic should be giving jabs that are not indicated.  Some health issues might also make some jags more of a priority so it is important we have this information from all customers.

Secondly, we need to know about the trip.  Different countries (and sometimes locations within a country) can have different disease risks and travellers go abroad for many different reasons.  From cruises to working in a bear sanctuary to working in a gold mine – you’d be amazed at what our customers plan to do when they travel.  They all have different risks and the advice we give varies depending on this.

Thirdly – and this is an important point – the majority of illnesses that you can catch whilst travelling cannot be prevented by having a jag.  A significant amount of the time that our customers spend with one our nurses is talking through the things they need to do to stay well.   There can be risks that people are not aware of (why would they be – that’s our job after all).   The Zika virus outbreak springs to mind here.  Lots of honeymoon couples heading off to areas where Zika was a problem, that came to us ‘just for a hep A jab’.  Unknowingly, they needed information on the Zika risk at their honeymoon destination and avoiding pregnancy.

Our nurses are extensively trained in travel medicine and it is their job to look at all the health risks – not just the one jag that is requested.   Again, under best practice guidance, we are required to determine what the health issues are for travellers and not for example, to just give the rabies vaccine that was requested.   Be wary of clinics that are just ‘jabbing’ – you are leaving yourself exposed to unnecessary health risks during your trip.  If you are having a jab then all the other information around your trip should be included a routinely – not as an optional extra.