Yellow fever, a mosquito borne viral infection that can cause illness and even death, is found in much of of South America and Africa. It is one of the few diseases for which proof of vaccination may be required for entry to many countries around the world.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
There is no specific treatment for yellow fever, but vaccination is very effective.
If you visit a yellow fever country, vaccination will be advised. A certificate of vaccination may also be required by countries you subsequently enter, including Australia. Yellow fever does not yet occur in Australia, however we have a mosquito species that can transmit the disease.
Yellow fever vaccinations must be provided by an approved yellow fever vaccination clinic. These clinics will provide a vaccination certificate in the form approved and required by WHO. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is valid for life (although prior to 2016 a 10 year expiry applied)
The vaccine is considered to be safe for the majority of travellers (WHO 2011). About 1 in 4 may experience mild flu like symptoms for a couple of days, 4-5 days later. 1% may be bed-bound for a day. On average, 1: 100 000 vaccines may experience a delayed severe, even life threatening reaction. This chance increases in the older traveller by at least 2-3 fold.
A decision to not have the vaccine can result in problems for onward travel, including being refused entry to a country, quarantined at your own expense, missing flight connections or being vaccinated on arrival. If for medical reasons you cannot be safely vaccinated you will be issued with a medical contraindication certificate.
Yellow fever vaccine exemptions (can only be issued by a licenced centre)
- The vaccine is contraindicated in persons with a known anaphylaxis to eggs.
- Yellow fever vaccine is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or infants aged under 9 months.
- Yellow fever vaccine should not be given to people who have a weakened immune system due to disease or medical treatment.
- People with a history of any thymus disorder should not be given the yellow fever vaccine.
- Vaccine side effect rates increase with age. Above the age of 60, the risk of Yellow Fever disease is weighed against the risks associated with the vaccine, and in some instances a WHO approved Yellow Fever Certificate may be issued.