Yellow Fever Vaccine FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. How do I know whether I need yellow fever vaccine for my trip?
Your AITC clinician will tell you during your Travel Health Visit. You can also use the CDC Yellow Fever Requirements table to check for yourself.
2. What does it mean when the CDC says that yellow fever vaccine is Recommended or Required?
- Yellow fever vaccine is Recommended by the CDC when you are traveling to a place where you have yellow fever risk (meaning: you could become infected with yellow fever virus in that area). The "recommendation" is for the purpose of protecting your health. Currently, yellow fever only occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, eastern Panama, and tropical areas of South America, and so you only have yellow fever risk when visiting these places.
- Yellow fever vaccine is Required when a foreign government requires proof of vaccination for travelers entering their country. The "requirement" is for the purpose of protecting countries from the risk of importing or spreading yellow fever. The fact that a country has no mandatory requirement for vaccination does not imply that there is no risk of yellow fever transmission. Many countries require proof of vaccination for travelers coming from or transiting through countries that have yellow fever risk. Please note that government yellow fever requirements are subject to change at any time. You are advised to check with the appropriate embassy or consulate.
3. Am I medically eligible for yellow fever vaccine?
Most people are medically eligible for yellow fever vaccine. The following persons are not medically eligible:
- Persons less than age 9 months
- Pregnant females
- Persons allergic to eggs, chicken, chicken or egg products, or feathers
- Persons with immune system suppression. This includes persons who currently have HIV with low CD4, AIDS or another disease that reduces immune system function, persons who have had blood cancer (leukemia, lymphoma), persons receiving cancer chemotherapy or radiation, persons taking drugs to suppress the immune system (including those who regularly take steroids or prednisone), and persons who have thymus disease or have had their thymus removed.
4. Is there a problem with people age 60 and up getting yellow fever vaccine?
The likelihood of certain serious side effects is higher in adults >60 years. Even though the risks from the vaccine are quite low, we always want to consider whether or not they are outweighed by the risk of getting the disease. Please read the CDC Vaccine Information Statement on yellow fever vaccine.
5. What if I am not medically eligible for yellow fever vaccine, but the country has a yellow fever vaccine requirement?
If you are not medically eligible, but must travel to an area that requires proof of yellow fever vaccination, we can prepare a letter of Medical Waiver. Most countries will accept a medical waiver from a Certified Yellow Fever Vaccine Provider such as AITC, for persons with a medical reason for not receiving the vaccination. You are advised to check with the appropriate embassy or consulate prior to departure.
6. What is yellow fever?
Yellow fever is a viral disease that has caused large epidemics in Africa and the Americas. Its effects range from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. The "yellow" in the name is explained by the jaundice that affects some patients. Although an effective vaccine has been available for 60 years, yellow fever is still a serious public health threat.