Yellow fever vaccine (and where to get a yellow fever card)
The yellow fever vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect against yellow fever. Find out why you need it and where to get a yellow fever card for travel.
Yellow fever is a viral disease that’s transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause severe illness, including fever, jaundice, and sometimes death. It’s given as a single shot and provides long-lasting immunity against the virus.
Yellow fever does not exist in the continental US. However, if you’re traveling abroad to a country that has yellow fever, you can get the yellow fever disease. This includes tropical or subtropical parts of South America and Africa.
Importance of the yellow fever vaccine
The World Health Organization recommends yellow fever vaccination for travelers visiting countries where yellow fever is endemic or epidemic. The vaccine is also recommended for people who live in areas where yellow fever is found and for laboratory workers who handle the yellow fever virus.
It’s important to note that some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination for entry, so it’s a good idea to check with the relevant authorities before traveling to an endemic area. In addition, some countries may require proof of yellow fever vaccination even if you’re just transiting through an airport.
Getting vaccinated against yellow fever
If you’ll be traveling abroad, particularly in developing countries, and you need travel vaccines, go to the designated yellow fever vaccination centers, such as urgent care centers.
Because certain countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination, you’ll receive a signed and stamped International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), also called the “yellow fever card.” You MUST bring this with you on your trip or you may not be allowed into these countries.
FAQs on the yellow fever vaccine
When should I get the yellow fever vaccine?
You should receive the vaccine at least 10 days prior to travel.
I don’t want to take the yellow fever vaccine. Can I travel without having to take the yellow fever vaccine?
Without getting the yellow fever vaccine, you may not be able to travel to certain countries. An International Certificate of Vaccination is often a mandatory requirement for travel to and from countries like Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, and other countries in South America, as well as in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and other countries in Africa.
When does the yellow fever certificate expire and how can I renew the yellow fever certification?
The yellow fever vaccine protection lasts for 10 years. The yellow fever card you get is valid for 10 years as well. This yellow fever certification expires and needs to be renewed every 10 years since many countries still follow the 10-year rule.
Recent data suggest that re-vaccination may not be needed. If you got the vaccine 10 or more years ago, getting a booster dose of the yellow fever vaccine is a good idea if you’re planning to travel. You need to get the booster shot to renew the Yellow Fever Card.
What are the risks of taking the yellow fever vaccine?
The risks of taking the yellow fever vaccine aren’t life-threatening. The YF-Vax is licensed in the United States and approved by the FDA and, according to the CDC, side effects caused by a single dose of the yellow fever vaccine are generally mild.
Is it safe for my child to get a yellow fever shot?
Yes. Kids above 9 months of age can get the yellow fever shot.