Reactions to Yellow Fever Vaccine

Reactions to yellow fever vaccine are generally mild and include headaches, muscle aches, and low-grade fevers.  Rarely, people develop severe, sometimes life-threatening reactions to the yellow fever vaccine, including:

  • Allergic reaction, including difficulty breathing or swallowing (anaphylaxis)
  • Swelling of the brain, spinal cord, or the surrounding tissues (encephalitis or meningitis)
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system in which a person’s own immune system damages the nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, and sometimes, paralysis.
  • Internal organ dysfunction or failure

If you recently received the yellow fever vaccination and develop fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, vomiting, or diarrhea, see your healthcare provider.

Some people may have an increased risk of developing a reaction to the vaccine, but may still benefit from being vaccinated. These people, or their guardians, should talk to a healthcare provider about getting vaccinated:

  • Between 6 and 8 months old
  • Over 60 years old
  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding

To learn more about reactions to the yellow fever vaccine and who should or should not receive it, visit the Vaccine Information Statement page.