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Yellow Fever Vaccine

Yellow fever vaccine is a live-virus vaccine which has been used for several decades. A single dose protects against disease for 10 years or more. If a person is at continued risk of infection, a booster dose is recommended every 10 years.

Yellow Fever Vaccine Recommendations

Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for persons aged ≥9 months who are traveling to or living in areas at risk for yellow fever virus transmission in South America and Africa. Yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain countries. Yellow fever vaccination requirements and recommendations for specific countries are available on the CDC Travelers' Health page.

Serious adverse events can occur following yellow fever vaccination. Therefore, persons should only be vaccinated if they are at risk of exposure to yellow fever virus or require proof of vaccination for country entry. To minimize the risk of serious adverse events, health-care providers should carefully observe the contraindications and consider the precautions about vaccination prior to vaccine administration. Individuals considering yellow fever vaccination should discuss their underlying health conditions with their health care provider. A medical waiver can be given for persons with a precaution about or contraindication to vaccination. More information about medical waivers is available on the CDC Travelers' Health website.

To minimize the risk of serious adverse events, health-care providers should carefully observe the contraindications and consider the precautions about vaccination prior to vaccine administration (see below).

For more information about the use of yellow fever vaccine in travelers or laboratory workers, see the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommendations.

This vaccine is administered only at designated vaccination centers. Locations of centers are available from your local health department. Information regarding registered yellow fever vaccination sites can be viewed at the CDC Travelers' Health Yellow Fever website. For health-care professionals who want to learn more about yellow fever disease and vaccine, a continuing education module is available.

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Contraindications (conditions in which vaccine should not be given)

  • Allergy to vaccine component
  • Age <6 months
  • Symptomatic HIV infection or CD4+ T-lymphocytes <200/mm3 (<15% of total in children aged <6 years)
  • Thymus disorder associated with abnormal immune function
  • Primary immunodeficiencies
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Transplantation
  • Immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory therapies

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Precautions (conditions for which the risks of the vaccine and the disease should be carefully considered)

  • Age 6 to 8 months
  • Age ≥60 years
  • Asymptomatic HIV infection and CD4+ T-lymphocytes 200 to 499/mm3 (15-24% of total in children aged <6 years)
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding

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Reactions to Yellow Fever Vaccine

Reactions to yellow fever vaccine are generally mild and include headaches, myalgia (muscle aches), and low-grade fevers. There have been reports of rare but serious events following yellow fever vaccination. These events include anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction), yellow fever vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease (YEL-AVD, disease affecting certain internal organs), and yellow fever vaccine-associated neurologic disease (YEL-AND, disease affecting the nervous system). CDC can provide laboratory testing support for suspected YEL-AVD and YEL-AND cases.

Healthcare providers are encouraged to report all adverse events that might be caused by vaccination to the CDC/FDA Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) by one of the following methods:

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