Friday, August 1, 2014

When Maria Dee got vaccines

 “How is little Maria Dee?” or “is she developing well?” it’s probably the questions we have to answer more frequently.

Since I got the confirmation from my work that I don’t need to go back to Macau this year, we had to plan about the doctor consultations and vaccination programs of Maria Dee. We are in American territories, where health insurance is essential even if we got sailing insurance but it doesn’t cover vaccinations. I agree with the American health system because it pushes all citizens to work. The more you work the better quality of life you will have, which is a good thing. But what if you don’t have it?

I must admit that the health system in Macau, which local people complain a lot about the capacity and quality, is still one of the best things the Macau government gives to the benefit of its citizens. The hospitalization in Macau is completely free for kids until 13 years old, civil servant and family, teachers, pregnant woman for example and much more cases that I don’t mention. They even offer discounted prices for permanent and non-permanent residents of Macau. What is free in Macau we have to pay outside!

I posted the question on USVI cruisers page on facebook asking suggestions for places where we could get the vaccinations for Maria Dee. I still wondered on some suggestion about what they mention about reasonable price for the clinics here. We went to check one, just right after our dinghy dock in Charlotte Amalie, and got the surprised that getting the vaccines is only by appointment. The vaccines cost 15 USD for the first shot and the following is 10 USD each excluding the consultation for 170 USD! The receptionist is kind to advise us that if we don’t have health insurance we could go to the public hospital which is nearby then we don’t need to pay for the consultation cost like we have to pay in their clinic.

“The vaccination is only available in September”.  That’s what the nurse in the hospital told us! Though, she was nice and gave us the contact of the vaccines providers in US Virgin Islands. We called some of them but most don’t have the vaccines that 18 months old Maria Dee need. They were IPV (inactivated poliovirus vaccine), DTPa (Diphtheria, tetanus & acellular pertussis vaccine) and MMR (Measles, mumps & rubella vaccine). Finally, we got thru Dr. Hea Young Pak, an elderly Korean pediatrician who was born and raised in Korea but educated in USA and then moved to St. Thomas in 1965. We felt Asian nostalgia as we came from Asia and Korea is one of the countries we visited some years ago. Maria Dee was so brave, even the doctor said. She only cried when she feel the needles into her sensitive skin. That’s it! And the fun starts since the doctor’s room has cartoons, animals and many dolls decorations. Another thing the doctor was surprised was that Maria Dee got so many teeth! At 18 months she already got 16, each upper and lower got 8 teeth! The doctor said for the full set of milk teeth will be 20 which Maria Dee is soon to reach. The total price we paid for Dr. Pak was 120 USD including all vaccinations and consultation.

Now until Maria Dee turns 5 years old we don’t need to worry about vaccinations. But we keep tracking her weight and height every month. For our friends and family not to be worried and to be sure that she is growing well and being healthy in the pure environment with 24 hours with her parents and her pet dog. 
Still smiling after vaccines
Right after the vaccines
Virgin Islands Medical Foundation Building, where Dr. Hae Young Pak Office located
Local Hospital in St. Thomas
Contact of vaccine providers and pediatricians in USVI


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