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Saturday
Oct052013

Vaccinating your Baby in Mexico | Vaccines in Mexico

For my comprehensive page on pregnancy and giving birth in Mexico, click here.

Lyra waiting for her shots in Loreto, Baja California Sur | 7 months old

We have been asked by lots of travelers and women who are giving birth in Mexico if we vaccinate our children, and if so, how we do it in Mexico. First, yes, we absolutely vaccinate. I believe it is important to let people know why we vaccinate and why we talk about it. This article does a great job of explaining how I feel.

We follow the CDC's vaccine schedule for infants and children. Please note, however, that the Mexican vaccination schedule and the CDC one are not always in sync. Some vaccines are recommended to be given at different times. Also, in Mexico babies are vaccinated for TB at birth. The CDC does not recommend vaccinating for TB at all (more here.)

If you are giving birth in Mexico, you'll need to decide whether or not to vaccinate for TB. We gave birth at a private hospital in Mexico and I told my provider we did not want the TB shot. Make sure you communicate very clearly what you want for your child, especially because giving the shot is routine in Mexico.

Mexicans take vaccinating their populace very seriously. I have frequently seen vans like this one outside of elementary schools. Be aware that if you enroll your child in school in Mexico, you will have to show that they are vaccinated. When we enrolled Cora they asked for her vaccination record (which we provided). The school accepted it but didn't mention anything about her not being vaccinated for TB. I don't know if this is because they didn't carefully read the detailed record, or if they knew we were following the CDC's recommended course instead of Mexico's.

Mexico's message to its citizens about vaccinating children:

"Care for them, love them, vaccinate them."

I read this mom's account of living in Mexico and showing up one day to pick her son up for school. The teacher let her know that all students had received a polio vaccine that day. Her son had already been vaccinated, but the school hadn't checked records, they just lined kids up and gave 'em a shot. Her account is a good read (she loves Mexico and understands why they do mass vaccinating like that.) This type of public health system is completely foreign to Americans.

I write this to make you aware of what you may encounter vis-a-vis schooling and vaccines in Mexico.

Lyra got her first round of vaccines from our primary care doctor when we were up visiting friends and family in San Diego.

For her second round we went to a pediatrician in La Paz, Dr. Alonso Flores Lopez (his contact info is on this page.) Dr. Flores was extremely kind, professional, and worked hard to speak to us in English. Before I even asked, he showed us where and how he stored his vaccines, where they were made, and their expiration date. Take a peek at the CDC's website on proper storage and handling of vaccines.

Dr. Flores' rotovirus vaccine was expired so he told us to go to the Centro de Salud to get Lyra vaccinated for it there. When we paid for our visit, we also had a bit of sticker shock at how expensive the vaccines were at his private practice. Note: his doctor's appointment fee was market rate, it was just the cost of vaccines that surprised us. When he gave us the info for the Centro de Salud I asked him if we would have to pay and he shook his head emphatically and told me, "No, in Mexico, all children receive free vaccines."

All children that don't go to private doctor offices :)

We have since gotten Lyra vaccines at the Centro de Salud in La Paz and the main hospital in Loreto. The first time we went I brought Lyra's birth certificate (acta de nacimiento) but they have never asked for proof of any type of citizenship and have never asked for us to pay. I have been impressed with the cleanliness and professionalism of each vacuna (vaccine) office in both locations. We plan on getting all further vaccines through these Centro de Saluds. 

Another thing to note: the farther you get from major cities, the harder you will have to work to make sure you get the vaccines on time. We have tried three times since arriving in Loreto to get Lyra some of her third round of shots, but they are simply out of stock. The first two times they gave us specific dates to come back and we went back on those dates but they still had not arrived. For this reason, I recommend getting your vaccines in big cities just to avoid scheduling hassles.

Travel and vaccinations

We vaccinate for additional diseases based on the countries we are going to and the timeframes needed for the vaccines to be effective. We are all vaccinated for Hep A, for example, since we are living in Mexico (except for Lyra who is still too young for that vaccine). The CDC's site for vaccines and travelers is very helpful.

If I've forgotten anything or you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment, or message me through our site.

Reader Comments (12)

I was going to tell you that Jess and James got their baby vaccinated for free at the Centro de Salud. Because Lyra is a Mexican citizen, she gets free vaccines, but it looks like you already figured that one out!

October 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAttila

OK, you don't know me, but thank you for vaccinating! It protects your children and all children.

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Lisa, you bet, and thanks for the positive support!

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Well, I don't necessarily agree with you on vaccines, but I just stopped by to say I LOVE you WC tula ;) A little jealous ;)

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary

We are a traveling family living in La Paz for another month, and we are very excited to come across your recommendation for a pediatrician. We are looking to get some vaccinations before we continue our travels, so we are glad to have someone to contact :)

February 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFives OnTheFly

Thanks for these great updates on raising kids in Mexico. I have a question for you about your experience with vaccinations in Mexico. I took my son to get his vaccinations at the centro de salad in puerto Vallarta. The first shots they did at two weeks and then his two month shots they did when he was only 45 days. I really did not like this but they said that's the schedule in Mexico. Well when they wanted me to come back in 30 days for his four month shots I decided to seek other advice. Our pediatrician says that they are supposed to wait the recommended time but that the centro de salad sometimes tries to speed things up. So we are now waiting the set times for our son's shots, ie 4 months, 6 month ect. Only downside is the shots at the private office are expensive. Did anyone experience a situation similar to this?

February 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Hey Lisa, sorry that happened to you. I would suggest just speaking up and declining something that does not meet the schedule. You can print out the Mexican schedule online to show them if they give you any lip.

Also, I've been going to the Centro de Salud in Bucerias for vaccines and it has been a great experience every time (actually going this morning!) Good luck!

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Parents are very conscious about their baby and very sincerer about their responsibility. They try their best to take proper care of their baby. Medical checkup, products and foods all are very important to keep a baby healthy. So all parents shoes a great attention towards these. The above images also describe this. Parents love their baby very munch and try their best to give them a healthy and luxurious life. They are ready do to everything for their baby.

Vaccinating is not compulsory for Mexico baby rather it is a anti disease medical treatment followed by every country's administration. It is essential to keep a healthy and make disease free through out their life.

March 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobertson Daniel

My Grandchild lives in Tetetala Mexico and has been diagnosed with Malaria today. He is 11 yrs. old, has a fever,and cough. The clinic has given him an antibiotic. We do not feel this is enough treatment and we are worried. Should he be in the larger city hospital and given further treatment with an antimalarial drug?

September 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMC Spann

Your pedi should tell you that the vaccines are fir free in the Centros de Salud, and most of them very expensive in the private practice. ( the Hep. For my newborn was like 25 or 30 usd, but others are expensive). However when I took my son to get the 2 month old shots , he was about 9 1/2 weeks old. The nurse there( centro de salud) told me I was late. And told me to come back when he was 3 mo. To get the " 4 month round of shots" I asked why and she explained they want to protect them sooner when there are reports of the illness being spread around at the time.
I said I would rather wait to follow the regular schedule she said ok but it is your responsibility if your son gets sick ( isn't it anyway?) then she said I had to sign a paper to assume responsibility blah blah blah. No need, just took him in when it was time ( according to the dates printed on the vaccination record " cartilla" provided,) and that was all. Sometimes I feel like they just make it complicated or maybe not all of them have the correct information.
I had my first son in the US and we lived there until he was 10 months old. My second boy was born here in MX and things are soooo different. I just embrace the differences lol. I was born in MX too so I am quite familiar with all of it but some things could definitely be improved. We live in the main city in the state and yes they do have more vaccines available for longer periods of time compared to the towns outside the City.

September 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartini

I'm living near Puebla for the year and giving birth in a couple of weeks. THANK YOU for all of the posts about pregnancy and birth in Mexico. Just wanted to add that our doctor (private hospital) said that babies there only get Hepatitis B at birth (not TB I guess?). Although now I want to triple-check with him. Last visit he told us that after Hepatitis B (which is not optional) we can make the decisions about the other vaccinations.

December 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Hi Katie, it's your baby, EVERYTHING is optional. All shots are up to you. Make sure you understand that they can't do anything to your baby unless you agree, and make sure the doctor understands that too. We have always followed the CDC vaccine schedule.

Good luck on your upcoming birth. What an exciting time!

December 25, 2014 | Registered CommenterRebel Heart

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