Malaria Vaccine Cost

Written by: Staff

Malaria found in humans is caused by one of the protozoan species, transmitted via the bite of a female mosquito or occasionally by a blood transfusion or congenitally from the mother to the fetus.  This serious disease can be life-threatening.

The risks of acquiring malaria will vary depending on the area you’re visiting, often in hot and humid areas such as parts of South Asia and Africa, but in the end, deaths due to malaria are preventable.

While no vaccine is available at this time, prescription drugs, known as antimalarials, are available, which we will discuss below.

Malaria Vaccine Cost
Mygg / Mosquito” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by braerik

How much does malaria pills cost?

The cost of a malaria medication will depend on where you get your prescription filled, your insurance policy (if you have one), the type of prescription, how long you plan on traveling and your geographical region.  Remember, as mentioned, there is no vaccination available at the moment and the pills will only be effective when taken before, during and after the trip as per the schedule.

From our research, most clinics charged anywhere from $50 to $75 for the appointment, including the medication prescription for a short-term visit, often less than 14 days or about $1 to $5 per day for the necessary amount of pills for longer stays.

MedicationDescriptionAverage Price (without insurance)
Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone)Take 2-3 days before arriving, once a day once at location and stop 7 days after leaving.$1-$3 per pill
DoxycyclineStart two to three days before the trip and stopping 28 days after leaving the area. Taken once a day.$2-$3 per pill
Mefloquine (Lariam)Start 7 days prior to the trip and stopping 28 days after leaving the area. Taken weekly.$4-$5 per pill
ChloroquineStart 7 days prior to the trip and stopping 28 days after leaving the area. Taken weekly.$4-$5 per pill

At the Denver Public Health Department, for example, its official website notes a travel consultation, which includes Malaria prescriptions, will cost $60 for the first adult and $25 for each additional child.

The CVS Minute Clinic, according to its official pricing sheet, states the malaria medication and the visit will cost $59 to $69.

Do keep in mind that this medicine will not protect you 100 percent from getting malaria as it must be combined with personal protective measures we note below.

How does the drug work?

An antimalarial will work in the bloodstream to suppress the symptoms by inhibiting any parasite development in the red blood cells.  A doctor will recommend you take the medication before your arrival, during your visit and after departure, especially if you’re in a higher risk area.   These drugs will not prevent the disease, however, but continuing your dosage, as per your schedule, will ensure any lingering parasites will die.

Malaria symptoms

Most often, malaria is associated with flu-like symptoms, which could include a fever, chills, body aches, fatigue and/or headaches, often occurring in intervals.  According to the CDC, close to 1,500 malaria cases are diagnosed in the United States every year, and each one of these cases, according to the organization, did not take the proper precautions before leaving on their trip.

How to prevent malaria

On the market today, there are no drugs which are designed to protect against malaria 100 percent; however, taking the preventable measures to protect yourself, you can drastically reduce your chances.  Mosquitoes that do carry malaria are known to have nocturnal feeding habits, meaning the transmission will occur between dusk and dawn, so if you know you will be out at this time, you will want to consider the following steps to protect yourself:

Tips to know

Depending on where you travel, your physician may recommend mosquito prevention tips rather than prescribing the prescription.  If you find yourself in an area at high risk, as seen in this graphic, then there’s a good chance the medication will be prescribed.  Your doctor will want to know your exact itinerary, the time of year you plan on visiting, how you’re traveling and the accommodations you can expect.

As you can see from the descriptions in our table above, some medication only needs to be taken once a week, while other medication needs to be taken daily.  Since you have to stick to a strict schedule in order for it to work, it’s important you choose a medication you’re comfortable with, whether it’s taking it every week or daily.

Just like taking the dosage daily or weekly, the same can be said about the duration as some drugs need to be taken well after your trip completes, often as long as 28 days, whereas other drugs can be stopped in as early as a week.  Be sure to ask yourself how long you want to take the medication, even after your trip ends. highly advises you do not purchase your malaria medication aboard as up to 40 percent of the medication sold is counterfeit.

Some medication is not effective in certain parts of the world.  For example, Malarone and doxycycline can work everywhere, but mefloquine is not as effective in parts of Asia.  This is why it’s so important your doctor knows of your itinerary before your prescription is written.

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