Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide
Call Your Closest Clinic, Australia-Wide

Vaccines at home, and trip to Sri Lanka

Mark Sweet TMA member Surrey Hills VIC

International travel has been severely curtailed as a result of Covid19. But there are still many reasons that you may want to consult a travel clinic. The TMA doctors are experts in immunisation and some of the TMA clinics are involved in pre-employment / pre-deployment medical assessments.
Immunisations when you are not travelling? – Yes!

Think flu vaccine  – even a second dose if you have higher risk factors.
Think completion of the Rabies or Hepatitis A / B immunisation course.
Are you immunosuppressed or have an arthritic or skin condition? If your specialist is planning to prescribe medications to suppress your immunity (as a way of managing an autoimmune condition) then please ask whether you have time to be vaccinated – especially live vaccines before starting the medications.

Well I’m not travelling now during COVID19 but I HAVE travelled!
Let me tell you about my Sri Lanka 2018/19– family holiday.
Sri Lanka is famous for its beaches and cooler climate highlands as well as safaris.
We went with our teenage children and chose a guide whose specialty is nature tours. Our guide was an expert ‘birder’ which meant that we soon developed an interest in birding too!
As a doctor’s family, we all had the recommended vaccines which for us was a top-up of Typhoid and Imojev (Japanese Encephalitis) vaccines. We were all up to date with hepatitis A/ B and Rabies and Tetanus. Our bags were stocked with medications for motion sickness, infections,  diarrhoea and we also took a water sterilizing wand (Steripen) and plenty of repellent.
Our tour company arranged a guide with a car and it was a really relaxed trip. From whale watching (unfortunately no whales) to seeing elephants on a safari and a myriad of beautiful birds we all had fun. Our guide could identify the bird species from its call and then would expertly find the bird in the nearby trees.
Our circuit of the island was the usual circular route, we went anti-clockwise. Starting in Galle with its historic Portuguese/Dutch fort and a cooking class to learn about the local curries. My youngest, aged 14, was not a fan of curry and meal times did not bring a smile to her face for about a week… until we found her a pizza.
National parks and wildlife were next. Jeep trips to the national parks around Yala where we saw the famous elephants, water buffalo, and an amazing variety of birds. Everything was new to us, not the least was discovering that the safari jeeps are 2WD and can get badly bogged on wet roads!

Tea Plantations near Haputale


We then journeyed to the highlands and the cooler temperatures where we loved the experience of visiting the Lipton tea factory and walking through the tea plantations. Each afternoon it rained so we learned to do our exploring in the mornings and having our waterproof jackets in case we were still away from our hotel for the afternoon deluge. A very early start driving up to Horton Plains NP and trekking to ‘World’s End’ was memorable for the expansive vistas. While continuing in the high country we had hoped a train trip would be a good experience, and while certainly beautiful scenery, ultimately it was 12 hours of my life that I will never get back - the same journey by road took only 3 hours.

The last part of our adventure was more focused on the beautiful cultural heritage of the country with visits to Sigirya, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla all of which had unique and beautiful temples and statues.

Habarana Lake with Guide Hetti











We finished with a night in Colombo for shopping and relaxing before a direct flight back to Melbourne.
All things considered, there are only two kinds of men in the world: those that stay at home and those that do not.”Rudyard Kipling