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The Shot Doctor

February 1, 2005 12:00 | By

By Eric Green
With film crews traveling all around the world, the risk of infection and disease runs high. At immunization clinics like the practice of Sandeep Kapoor, M.D., crews are dispensed protective medicines and receive an education on how to maintain good health while working abroad.
Kapoor has been practicing internal medicine since 1996 and has run the Studio City-based clinic for a little over a year. “Time and location are the biggest factors in what medicine is administered,” he says.
Kapoor’s business has mostly spread by word of mouth in the industry. Projects whose crews have been immunized by Kapoor include Survivor, Hidalgo, Black Hawk Down and Crocodile Hunter for locations such as Morocco, Malaysia and the Caribbean.
“Much of the time crews film in remote areas where there is more of a risk for disease and they are far away from health care,” says the doc.
Many variables are taken into consideration in determining what medicine to administer, such as the length of the shoot and recent developments in a particular area. Some areas are more problematic than others and unexpected changes in environment can radically alter the preventative measures required. Due to the recent tsunami, for example, the water in Southeast Asia has become undrinkable, even with advanced filtration systems.
“Water and food are the biggest culprits, regardless of where you are,” says Kapoor. “Whether you’re in Europe or in Africa there are certain risks posed to any traveler. There is even a risk if you’re staying at a five-star hotel.”
Prior to leaving for far-flung destinations, a crew will often come to the clinic together and receive a basic education on health risks for where they are traveling. Then come the necessary shots.
It is essential for any crew traveling abroad to get the necessary shots for their trip, insists Kapoor. Health care in other countries isn’t always as modernized as it is in the U.S., and many diseases are not adequately screened in other places, he adds.
Crews can research what shots are necessary for travel to different areas of the world on www.cdc.gov.