1How can I get tested for COVID-19?

The criteria for testing is likely to change as the disease spreads. Currently (13th March 2020) you need to have a fever and/or respiratory symptoms PLUS have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or have come in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. You cannot be tested ‘just to see’ or because your employer asks you to. Contact the clinic for more information.

2I have a cold. Can I still be vaccinated?

If you have a simple head cold and no fever, it’s usually fine to still be vaccinated. We would generally recommend you keep your appointment and one of our doctors will assess you to ensure its ok.

3Will there be side effects?

Vaccines are usually effective and safe, but reactions can sometimes occur. Reactions can be restricted to the site of injection or more general, affecting the whole body. Most reactions occur within a day or two of the vaccine, settle spontaneously, and are a sign of a strong immune response. Live vaccines, such as measles, chicken pox, one of the Japanese encephalitis needles and yellow fever can cause a more delayed response, usually 4-5 days and sometimes longer, after vaccination. Almost all reactions are self-limiting. They settle spontaneously without long term problems.

Anaphylaxis is a very rare severe allergic reaction which does require treatment and usually occurs within half an hour of the vaccine. Serious reactions are extremely rare.

4Do I have to pay?

Coming to Travel Health Plus works a bit like going to a regular GP. The initial consultation fee is partially rebatable through Medicare, with no out of pocket consultation fee expense for children, students and some veterans. Subsequent visits for the same trip are fully rebatable for everyone. Vaccines and medications for travel are not covered or subsidised by the government and therefore not covered by Medicare, so even health care card holders and pensioners would pay full price at a pharmacy. Some veterans are eligible for subsidised vaccines and we do of course have the full range of Health Department provided free vaccines for those eligible (ie childhood immunisations, influenza for the elderly).

Travelling for work? Medicare won’t cover the cost of your consultation if its for work purposes. If your employer won’t cover the costs, speak to your accountant about eligibility to claim something at tax time.

If you have any other questions about fees please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly receptionists.

5Do you have rabies vaccines in stock?

Yes we do, including ones for anyone who was bitten or scratched overseas and needs to start or complete a post exposure course. We also have plenty of meningococcal vaccines covering the B and ACWY strains and since it’s flu season in the tropics all year round, you will usually find influenza vaccines in our fridges most of the year. Because we specialise in immunisations and travel health, we often have stock when others (including pharmacies) have run out. Please note however that we aren’t a dispensary and you will need to phone ahead and make an appointment. with one of our medical staff, in order for us to administer any vaccines.

6I know what I need. Do I still have to see a doctor?

Even if you know what you require, you will still need to have an appointment with one of our doctors before we can administer a vaccine, or dispense medications to you. Although we have them here in the clinic for your convenience, they  still  need ‘prescribing’ by a medical practitioner. We are also unable to sell you items prescribed by doctors from another clinic.

7Can I get my vaccines on the same day as my consultation?

As a general rule yes. We keep all vaccines, medications and ‘healthy travel’ products here onsite, so you don’t have to visit a pharmacy and come back. Vaccines are prescription items however so you do need to see one of our doctors before we can go ahead and give them to you.

8Can you tell me what I need over the phone?

Travel medicine should never be ‘one size fits all’. We tailor our advice for you and your trip- taking into account such things as past medical and vaccination history, your destination, accomodation and planned activities. This is done by one of our experienced travel health doctors during a consultation that usually takes around 30 minutes.

You can however get a general idea of what kinds of things you might be at risk from by reading one of the destination fact sheets found on our website. After that it’s simply a matter of booking an appointment either online or by telephone.

9What if I think I have caught ‘something nasty’ whilst on my trip?

If you have been ill whilst away or become unwell shortly after returning from an overseas trip, you should contact us as soon as possible straight away. You don’t need to be an existing patient.

For the health of our staff and other patients, please make sure you phone ahead to make a booking. It happens rarely, but if we suspect you might have an infectious disease we will take steps to reduce contact with as many people in the clinic as possible as a precaution until one of our doctors has assessed you.

10Do vaccines cause disease?

Some studies in the past have suggested a link between vaccinations and certain medical conditions, such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and autism. The allegations of a link are often made for a disease of unknown cause. The appearance of a certain medical condition after vaccination does not necessarily imply that they are causally related. In most cases, subsequent studies have indicated that the association is due to chance alone. The Measles, Mumps, Rubella / Autism myth has been completely debunked by such studies. Importantly, once an issue is raised, it needs prompt research, and if no association is found then discussion and education is required to avoid propagating a myth.

11Can too many vaccines overload or suppress the natural immune system?

No. A vaccine covering six different diseases is routinely given to all babies at 2, 4 and 6 months of age for example.

Vaccines are just one of an enormous number of substances (antigens) that all adults and children routinely confront in day to day life that cause their immune system to respond in various ways to protect the body.

12How do vaccines work?

Vaccines contain a tiny amount of protein from a particular virus or bacteria which stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against the illness. These antibodies remain in the immune system’s memory for varying lengths of time and attack the organism if and when you become exposed.

13How do I get rabies post exposure treatment after being bitten or scratched by a mammal overseas?

It’s important you seek treatment as soon as possible if you haven’t already. If you started your course overseas, it is also important you keep to the schedule of treatment. The good news is that the WA Health Department currently provide rabies post exposure vaccines free in most instances, but you need to see a doctor in order for them to organise it for you.

Our staff are very experienced with rabies post exposure treatment. The clinic has rabies vaccines on hand at all time, and often rabies immunoglobulin too, but you do need to make an appointment. If you are already mid schedule, don’t leave it until the day you require the vaccine to give us a call.

Be aware that due to there being no rabies in Australia, emergency departments in WA usually don’t have rabies vaccines on hand. If you present to a hospital they will usually refer you on (often to us).

14Can I drink alcohol and/or exercise after having a vaccine?

We get asked this question a lot. The simple answer is yes but suggest you read on more

15How far ahead of my trip should I make an appointment?

6-8 weeks before you travel is a good time to have an appointment with one of our doctors. But it’s never ‘too late’. If you are travelling sooner than that, make an appointment as soon as possible. We do offer after hours and Saturday morning appointments. These are highly sought after and fill up early, so don’t leave it until the last minute, in order to avoid disappointment. We’ve now also added clinic sessions in Nedlands.

16Does using Travel Health Plus mean that I am charged more?

Just the opposite. Over the years there have been many patients who, having seen their regular doctor prior to previous trips, tell us they wish they had come to us sooner. Using the expertise and experience of Travel Health Plus saves you money and time – you only get what’s needed, at competitive prices, all under the one roof. Consultation fees are partially and in some cases fully rebatable through Medicare and most private health funds offer rebates on vaccination costs, depending on your cover.

17Do you have Influenza, Hepatitis B or Meningococcal vaccines in stock?

Yes we do. We have plenty of hepatitis B and meningococcal vaccines covering the B and ACWY strains. In tropical climates the risk of influenza is all year round, so we also have a good supply of influenza vaccines on hand. Because we specialise in immunisations and travel health, we often have stock when others (including pharmacies) have run out. Please note however that we aren’t a dispensary and you will need to phone ahead and make an appointment. with one of our medical staff, in order for us to administer any vaccines.

18Can I pop in and ‘pick up a kit’?

We have a range of non-prescription travel health products, including first aid kits that you are able to purchase over the counter. Our specialised self-treatment kits however contain prescription medications so you need an appointment with one of our doctors in order to purchase one. To do this you will need to phone ahead and make an appointment.