I honestly think nothing would be necessary just to live in Shanghai.
But ... I'm married to an adventurer. I know we'll be spending weekends exploring places elsewhere. (We already have our first dive trip - to Borocay, Philippines - planned, but that's another story.)
If I were to follow the CDC guidelines, I'd be getting lots of shots. If I were to follow the advice of some ex pats there now, I'd not get any.
A few weeks ago, I talked to the folks in my doctor's office. They weren't sure what shots they even had to give and encouraged me to go to a travel doctor. So, I called my insurance carrier for help in finding a travel doctor in network.
Well, I was informed that travel doctors - and travel immunizations - aren't covered by insurance. However, they referred me to an infectious disease control doctor at the Mayo Clinic and explained that several (but not all) of the CDC-recommended shots could be provided (and covered) based on just living in Arizona. I just needed the Doctor to recommend them. For sure, Hep A, Hep B, Tetanus, and polio update would be covered.
Well, called that doctor and he didn't provide shots, but the Mayo clinic could refer me to their travel doctor(s).
So I did a bit more research, then just called up my Primary Care Physician again last Friday and asked for an appointment to get some immunizations. I listed the ones I thought I needed, to make sure they were in stock -- because when I'd called a month prior, they didn't have all in stock.
Surprisingly for this practice, they gave me a Monday morning appointment. And, on Monday I met with a very helpful nurse practitioner and talked things through -- including whether she thought I should bite the bullet and go get more shots that they couldn't give from a travel doctor.
She recommended I get only two: Hep A and tetanus. So, that's what I got. One in each arm. When the shot-giver (she had a fancier title, of course) came in, she asked me which one I wanted where :)
Two days later, I don't think it made a difference. Both arms were very sore yesterday, and both arms are just a little sore today.
I just hope I made the right decision. (And that I'll remember to get the Hep A booster in 6 months....)
But I have to say that the discussion with my insurance carrier was ... unsettling. Essentially I was told that if I say I want the shots because I'm moving to China, cost of the shots are not covered. However, if I say I want the shots because I live in Phoenix -- i.e., as a general health care precaution like the flu shot, the cost is covered.
When I asked, "Ok, so if I say I want the shots as a general precaution and because I'm moving to China, will that be covered?" -- the response was that so long as I say I want the shots as a general precaution, they would be covered.
I shared this experience with a friend who is just getting initiated into the world of medicare. Her response was interesting (quoted with permission):
I had my first interaction with Medicare and I wasn't terribly impressed. I spent weeks looking for a new "GP" doctor (mine was in DC and I want someone closer to home) and everyone I called refused to see new Medicare patients. I finally found an older doctor, so I'll eventually have to find another when she retires. The younger docs are refusing Medicare patients. Anyway, I went for the "Welcome to Medicare Preventative Visit" to which all new Medicare recipients are entitled during the first 12 months of coverage. The webpage says that the doctor will do a variety of things ... including send you for tests. So, I went to the doctor and she sent me for mammogram and blood/urine tests.
A month later, I get a bill from the lab for over $800 because Medicare refused to pay for the analyses of my blood and urine. They paid the doctor to prescribe the tests. They paid the lab to draw my blood. And they paid the doctor for a second visit to discuss with me the results of my blood and urine analyses. But they wouldn't pay for the analyses themselves! (I assumed Medicare pays for "blood letting" since they pay for drawing the blood, but not analyzing it. I wondered if they would have paid to have leeches applied.)
[I]t was explained to me that the doctor requested "routine" blood/urine analyses when she should have coded the request for a particular "condition." I said, "I don't have a condition. These tests were totally routine." It was explained to me that while I do not have to actually have a "condition" to have the analyses covered (this is, after all, a "preventative" visit), the doctor still has to code for a "condition" because Medicare only pays for "medically necessary" tests/analyses, not routine. I couldn't believe what I was being told BY MEDICARE. It sounded like Medicare fraud! But this is the way Medicare works!
Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.