A safe and effective yellow fever vaccine has been available for more than 80 years. A single dose provides lifelong protection for most people. The vaccine is a live, weakened form of the virus given as a single shot.

Vaccine is recommended for people aged 9 months or older and who are traveling to or living in areas at risk for yellow fever virus in Africa and South America. Yellow fever vaccine may be required for entry into certain countries.


Vaccine recommendation:

Yellow fever vaccine is recommended for people who are 9 months old or older and who are traveling to or living in areas at risk for yellow fever virus in Africa and South America.


For most people, a single dose of yellow fever vaccine provides long-lasting protection and a booster dose of the vaccine is not needed. However, travelers going to areas with ongoing outbreaks may consider getting a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine if it has been 10 years or more since they were last vaccinated. Certain countries might also require a booster dose of the vaccine; visit Travelers’ Health for information on specific country requirements.


Vaccine is not recommended for people who are

  • Allergic to a vaccine or something in the vaccine (like eggs)
  • Aged 6 months or younger
  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Diagnosed with a malignant tumor
  • Diagnosed with thymus disorder associated with abnormal immune function
  • Diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency
  • Using immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory therapies
  • Showing symptoms of HIV infection or CD4+ T-lymphocytes less than 200/mm3 (less than 15% of total lymphocytes in children aged 6 years or younger)


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
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