If you are planning on going to a yellow fever risk area, then visit your IPSA Medical travel clinic for your yellow fever vaccine before undertaking your trip.

What is the yellow fever vaccine?

The vaccine for yellow fever involves a single injection.
You need to be vaccinated a minimum of 10 days prior to travelling, as this allows enough time for your body to develop enough of an immune response to (protection against) yellow fever. Your yellow fever proof of vaccination certificate (see below) is only valid after this 10-day window.
The yellow-fever vaccination provides 95 to 100% of people with protection against yellow fever: protection which lasts for at least 10 years (and it may even provide life-long protection).

Will I need a yellow fever vaccine booster?

A yellow fever booster is recommended every 10 years if you are planning another visit to an at-risk area.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently suggested that a booster may not be necessary. From June 2016, vaccination certificates will become valid for life (currently they expire after 10 years).
In the meantime, a booster is only recommended if you are travelling to an at-risk area, were vaccinated more than 10 years ago, and you:

  • Need a valid yellow fever certificate of vaccination, or
  • Were originally vaccinated when pregnant, when less than two years old, or when you had a weak immune system (e.g. due to an HIV infection or when being prepared for a bone marrow transplant)

Your IPSA Medical travel clinic physician will advise you if you are unsure about whether to have a yellow fever booster vaccination before you travel.

Where can I be vaccinated against yellow fever?

Your IPSA Medical travel clinic offers yellow fever vaccinations. On average, the single yellow fever vaccination costs around £60.

Do I need a certificate for my yellow fever vaccination?

Under WHO regulations, anyone travelling to an at-risk country or area must have the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), and the WHO website contains a complete listing of all yellow fever risk countries. Your IPSA Medical physician will determine your need for the vaccine/booster during your travel clinic consultation.
If you have lost your yellow fever certificate, you can usually get another certificate reissued if you have the following details: the date of your vaccination and the vaccination batch number.

Are there any exemptions from the yellow fever vaccination?

Your IPSA Medical physician may advise you not to have the vaccine due to the risk of potential side effects/complications.
Those at risk include:

  • Babies (less than 9 months old), although babies from 6–9 months old might sometimes be vaccinated (only if the risk of perhaps contracting yellow fever during travel is unavoidable)
  • Pregnant/breastfeeding women
  • People aged over 60
  • People with weak immune systems (e.g. with HIV or people receiving radiotherapy)
  • People with severe allergies to any of the yellow fever vaccine ingredients (e.g. people with egg allergies, as the vaccine does contain small amounts of egg)

If your IPSA Medical physician does not advise you to have the vaccination, then you might be issued with a letter of exemption (which might be accepted by the relevant immigration authorities).
If you have not had the yellow fever vaccine then you will need to be especially careful about preventing mosquito bites, as this is the route of infection for yellow fever (use insect repellents and mosquito nets).

Are there any side effects from the yellow fever vaccine?

Nearly a third of people do experience minor side effects from the yellow fever vaccine 1–5 days post-vaccination and the effects can last for up to 2 weeks:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Mild fever
  • Soreness at the site of injection

Are there any more serious side effects from the yellow fever vaccine?

Some very rare yet potentially serious yellow fever vaccine side effects can occur:

  • An allergic reaction (1 reaction for every 130,000 people vaccinated)
  • Yellow fever vaccine-associated neurological disease (YEL-AND). This affects the brain and nervous system, with symptoms like confusion and movement/co-ordination problems (1 reaction for every 250,000 people vaccinated)
  • Yellow fever vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease (YEL-AVD). This affects your internal organs, sometimes leading to organ failure (1 reaction for every 330,000 people vaccinated)

The risk of developing YEL-AND or YEL-AVD is higher in the elderly and in young babies, thus, vaccination is not always recommended for these age groups. Your IPSA Medical practitioner will discuss this fully with you during your vaccine consultation.

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