Mexico has two healthcare systems, a public one and a private one. My wife and I prefer the private system for several reasons, here are just a few:
1) the quality of patient care is outstanding,
2) the medical facilities are generally much nicer than the public ones,
3) there is very little waiting, and
4) it’s very affordable — especially compared to the cost of healthcare in the United States
For the last three years, all of my healthcare needs have been met by the private system, but this week my luck ran out.
Long story short, I cut my toe on a rusty piece of iron last week. The injury didn’t require any stitches, but I thought it would be wise to get a tetanus shot since it had been more than 10 years since my last one.
I don’t belong to the public healthcare system in Mexico, so I headed to a private hospital in Tulum to get my shot.
When I told them what I wanted, the medical staff advised me that, by law, private medical facilities and pharmacies are prohibited from dispensing the tetanus vaccine. They said that the only place to get the vaccine is at a public medical facility designated by the Secretaría de Salud (Secretary of Health).
Fortunately for me, there was one location nearby in Tulum called the Centro de Salud (health center). Unfortunately, it was closed and wouldn’t open until 7 AM the following day.
Centro de Salud
I have visited several public facilities while doing research for blog articles and they have always been crowded. That’s why my plan was to arrive super early in order to be one of the first people in line.
When I arrived, I was pleased to see that there was only one woman with an infant waiting for the clinic to open. I stood behind her and waited patiently for another 25 minutes for the clinic to open. During that time, another 15 people had arrived with their infants to have them vaccinated.
As I stood there, I remember thinking that I may actually get this thing done quickly.
When the clinic opened, a nurse came outside and started collecting shot records from the parents. She asked me why I was there and I told her the hospital staff had sent me to get a tetanus shot. She said that they only do adult shots after all taking care of all the babies.
All of the babies?!!!!!
When I asked her how long that would probably take, she said, “Not long — maybe an hour or two.”
Maybe an hour or two?!!!!!
I decided to wait, but I was quickly getting discouraged by the steady stream of people arriving with more babies. After about an hour and a half, the waiting room was finally empty and it was my turn.
One of the medical staff asked what vaccine I wanted, wrote my name on a roster, and then gave me the injection. It was free and I didn’t have to fill out any paperwork.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Except for the long wait time, it wasn’t a bad experience; nevertheless, my advice for people moving to Mexico is to get all your shots before coming down. It’s just easier that way.
Speaking of shots, it’s time to head to my favorite beach bar and get a couple. Hasta Luego.
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