My experience with Passport Health

I had mentioned previously that I was going to get shots for up upcoming trips.  This post is a review of Passport Health.  After I scheduled my appointment on the phone I was provided a link to fill out with my immunization history, countries I’m visiting, prescriptions I’m taking, and other relevant health information.  It probably took me 15-20 minutes to fill out and some of that was locating my immunization records.

I showed up to the location.  A nondescript suite in an office building.  The office had a huge map of the world on the wall so I knew I was in the right place.  The nurse was finishing up with another person so I had to wait a bit (I’m used to other doctors so I showed up a good 15 minutes early).  Finally I was called back.  The nurse had a book specially made for me based on the countries I’m going to and the CDC recommendations.  She walked me through each country, the recommended shots and general health recommendations.  Then based on the recommendations she presented my the shots and the price list.  Shots are expensive (ranging from $99-~$155 for the ones I should get) but my insurance has covered the ones I’ve gotten before so I figured I’d try my luck.  Since I was already there and if I’m in for the penny I’m in for the pound I went with 6 vaccines (5 shots and 1 oral).  All in all getting Yellow Fever, Tetanus (not with diptheria or pertussus), the second Hep A (I like to eat from sketchy places because it feels more authentic), Polio (I’m not really sure why I got this, but oh well), Meningitis (although I did live on campus 3 years of college, they only started requiring this my sophomore year and only for incoming freshman), and I got the oral Typhoid because 5 shots is enough!  Now I’m traveling with an ice pack to keep the Typhoid refrigerated.

The nurse was very good and although I’m not a fan of needles and I’ve passed out at the doctor more times than I’d like to admit I survived just fine.  Very little soreness, no flu-like symptoms, and my cough I’d been fighting also went away so I felt just fine over the weekend.

Since the oral Typhoid has a funny schedule (every other day, on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before eating) they gave me this bright orange bracelet to remember.  It works because I remembered to bring my pills on my trip this week!  I also put appointments on my outlook calendar so my phone will tell me, but the bracelet works too.

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Snazzy typhoid braclet
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My “yellow book”

Don’t get the wrong idea.  The nurse would have been just fine not administering me any of the shots.  The environment was low pressure and the information was factual, not doom and gloom.  I *chose* to get the shots.  Whatever insurance does not cover just goes into sunk cost for why I can go on more adventuresome trips for at least the next 5 years.  I would definitely return to Passport Health again, although most of the routine shots can probably be obtained at my regular doctor and then insurance would be handled up front, not after the fact.  I also liked Passport Health because I got the feeling that the nurse there really enjoys hearing people’s travel plans.  I just wish they had used cutesy bandaids with airplanes or something instead of the plain round discs.  Oh well.

Since a few of the main travel culprits are mosquito-borne or water-borne Passport Health also carries an assortment of water purification systems and insect repellants, nets, etc.  I didn’t buy any of the extras.  I already have a bottle that can purify water (for giardia at least), and I’ll just pick up insect repellant at Wal-Mart.  For those with tight timelines before departure it can be good one stop shopping.

I left with my book about what to look out for, a Passport Health luggage tag, my yellow book, and the typhoid pills.  I avoided getting Cipro this time.  That may be famous last words, but oh well.  At the FT Do over the weekend one of the people has traveled extensively in Africa and said to just stock up on Pepto Bismol in the US because it’s hard to find overseas and to take some with each meal.  Of course the biggest potential for issues is my first stop and I’d hate to be sick for the rest of my trip so I just may heed this advice.  I’ll at least try to remember to stock up on Pepto and I also plan on doing posts on my packing lists so you can see what I do actually bring.


  1. Glad you had a good experience with Passport Health. I have also been pleased with my experiences there although I did feel a bit of pressure to get more vaccinations than intended.

    Our family doctor no longer provides any of these, but Walgreens and Safeway give tetanus shots here as well as a variety of other inoculations.

    You have fabulous insurance if it covers Yellow Fever and Hepatiis shots!

    Have a great trip!

    1. I’m not sure about yellow fever, but it covered my last tetanus (which was a combined dtap or tdap) and my first hep A shot. I was 24 at that time so it’s not even like it was covered due to age.

  2. In Oakland County, MI you can get Hep A, Hep B (or the Twinrix, which includes both) and Tdap at the county health department real cheap (1/3 the cost of what our local travel clinic or my doctor wanted to charge).

  3. You are doing travelers without insurance. Disservice by recommending Passport Health as the place to get travel immunization s. Passport Health is a franchise and has a national reputation for using a hard sell approach. If you are well-informed, the nurse will leave you alone; but beware if you are hesitant, then the scare tactics go into play, along with the hard sell. Rabies! Polio! Water purification! Mosquito nets! I worked there for a few weeks and their hard sell tactics made me quit.


  5. Absolute idiots! This is a business and a franchise at that! It is very much a hard sell and they refuse to give you a written prescription. Although, they don’t tell you this until after you’ve spent over $1500 on vaccines.

    Do not go to PASSPORT HEALTH! Go to your primary physician and he can do the shots. It’s not that complicated. If you go to PASSPORT HEALTH, forget about using your insurance.

    I will never use them again and seriously considering calling my credit card provider and disputing the charges.

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