Yellow Fever Vaccine

Uses of Yellow Fever Vaccine

Yellow fever vaccine can help prevent yellow fever in those traveling to or living in high-risk areas. After getting the vaccine at a designated center, you should received a stamped and signed “yellow card” (International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis), which will be valid for 10 years starting 10 days after you vaccination. Traveling to certain countries without proof of vaccination could result in detention for up to 6 days to ensure that the traveller is not infected. Be sure to discuss your travel plans and vaccination needs with your doctor well in advance of your departure.

You can also prevent exposure to mosquitos carrying yellow fever by:

  • staying in air-conditioned or screened-in areas,
  • covering up as much of your body as possible,
  • using effective insect repellents (e.g., those that contain DEET).

Side Effects Of Yellow Fever Vaccine

Though serious side effects are possible, the risk of serious harm of death is very low with the yellow fever vaccine.

Mild problems include:

  • Fever and/or soreness or swelling at the injection site.
  • These side effects may last for up to one week. They occur in about 1 of 4 people.

Severe problems include:

  • Severe allergic reactions to one are more vaccine ingredients (approximately 1 in 55,000 people).
  • Severe nervous system problems (approximately 1 person in 125,000 people).
  • Potentially fatal illnesses with organ failure (approximately 1 person in 250,000 people). The death rate for this side effect is over 50%.

Please note the the last two problems mentioned above have never been reported in response to a yellow fever vaccine booster dose.

Warnings & Precautions

People with a severe allergies to any components of the vaccine (e.g., eggs, chicken proteins, gelatin) or who have had severe allergic reactions to a previous of yellow fever vaccines should refrain from vaccination. should not get the yellow fever vaccine.

The vaccine is not intended for infants under 6 months of age. Pregnant or nursing women and infants up to 8 months old should avoid traveling to areas with a known risk of yellow fever if at all possible.

Tell your doctor if: you have HIV/AIDS or another disease that negative impacts the immune system; if your immune system has been weakened by cancer, a transplant, or various treatments (e.g., steroids, cancer chemotherapy, other drugs that affect immune cell function); or if your thymus has been removed or you have a thymus disorder (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, myasthenia gravis,  or thymoma).

Adults 60 years and older may be at increased risk of severe side effects from the vaccine. Consult your physician if you cannot avoid traveling to or through an area with a known risk of yellow fever.

Dosage Of Yellow Fever Vaccine

The vaccine is intended for people aged 9 months to 59 years who are living in or traveling to a high-risk area or are traveling to a country that requires vaccination for entry.

Laboratory personnel who work with the yellow fever virus should also consider vaccination.


Call your doctor or local or state health department if you have any questions regarding the vaccine.