Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On Vaccines, Breakfast and Pharmaceuticals

In preparation for our trip, we’ve been vaccinated against the following: typhoid fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B (two doses, a third next year), a meningitis vaccine cocktail (A+C+Y+W135 - no idea what this means), rabies (three doses) and a polio booster. Bryan also had a tetanus booster. Ricky had the typhoid fever and the rabies shots; the others he had had already.

We had so many shots, and went to the International Vaccination Center so many times, that we became regulars at a nearby wine bar called La Vinateria de Don Ramon that serves breakfast in the morning (no wine with your breakfast). The Ukranian waitress actually knows us (maybe because we tipped too much). For 2.50 euros you get one of the breakfast specials: café con leche and a montadito (tiny sandwich with different fillings: jamon Serrano, egg and bacon, tortilla and fried pepper, or tuna). For 2 euros you can have the cheaper breakfast: coffee and a pastry. The place was packed every morning we came after our shots. If you’ve spent any time in Spain you know that breakfast is not a big meal in Spain. Most people have a coffee and something sweet, or toast. One of the heartiest choices is a slice of tortilla de patatas with a piece of bread. Tortilla is often described in English as a potato omelet, but it has more body than an omelet, it is sliced into several portions, and it can be eaten warm or cold. Another popular breakfast choice here is a small baguette, toasted, with olive oil and grated tomato.

Since we are done with the vaccination center, this week we’ll be taking a trip to the pharmacy. We have prescriptions for Dukoral, an oral cholera vaccine (two doses for us and three for Ricky). The cholera vaccine may not work to protect you against cholera, but it seems to reduce travelers’ diarrhea, so the doctor recommended it.

Also, the three of us will be taking Malarone, a medicine that protects you against malaria. Malarone has to be taken two days before and a week after you are in a malaria-risk area. In our case, the first such place will be Kruger National Park in South Africa. Then we will take it before we go to Angkor Wat (sources disagree about whether there is malaria in Cambodia around the temple touristy areas). We don’t intend to go to any other places where malaria is around. So we will buy six boxes of regular Malarone and three boxes of pediatric Malarone, just to be safe.

We are also bringing Cipro and the pediatric equivalent in case of serious intestinal trouble. We also have two mosquito nets, and DEET mosquito repellent, both for skin and clothing. To top it off, we’ll carry your usual first aid kit: Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, disinfectant, hydrocortisone cream, decongestant, Tylenol, Pepto, my asthma inhaler.

If you need travel immunizations and breakfast in Madrid, these two places are excellent. They are located near the Lista metro stop (line 4):

International Vaccination Center

Centro Monografico de Salud Internacional - Vacunas
C/ Montesa, 22
28006 Madrid

La Vinateria de Don Ramon
C/ Don Ramón de la Cruz, 87
28006 Madrid


  1. I'm loving your blog.

    Jest saying.

  2. Thank you, Mika! And the blog loves you back.