One of the downsides of long-haul, foreign travel is vaccinations. To "cover" ourselves in just four of our destinations - India, Myanmar, Laos and Bali - we need jabs against at least 7 different fevers, diseases and infections. These include Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, BCG and Typhoid not to mention twice-daily, anti-malaria tablets to offer protection in those areas of our itinerary where the mosquito has already developed immunity to the weekly dose. Then there are the further precautions that fall to the responsible individual: the exotically named 'jungle formula', anti-tic and insect sprays; the re-hydration sachets to mitigate the effects of the ubiquitous traveller's diarrhoea; the sterile kit containing 'hygienic' needles, canulas and scalpels (?) which you hope to God you will never be in a position to require using; the long-sleeved clothing and sleeping nets to guard against yet more mosquitoes that could be vectors for dengue fever (which has no vaccine as yet and whose 'critical phase, while rare, occurs relatively more commonly in children'. Excellent).
It goes without saying that we are hugely privileged in the West to be able to vaccinate ourselves against potential medical dangers that are an everyday occurrence for those that live amongst them. Researching potential complications associated with any of the list above does not make for happy reading and I actually feel pretty guilty about having a choice in the matter. We are even more fortunate that we can afford to exercise our choice (our private medical bill for the four of us so far is £1,534 and counting). But persuading three kids of this fact before their fifth visit to the travel clinic in two months is not straightforward. Luckily it helps that our nurse is brilliant with kids, has about ten different kinds of coloured plasters to choose from, a room full of child-friendly distractions: bubble blowers, puzzles, crayons and books and that she goes out especially before each appointment to buy them some sort of treat to eat afterwards (note box of mini chocolate chip muffins being guarded closely below).