Vaccination is the best protection against yellow fever and its complications. This vaccine is recommended for people travelling to regions of Africa or South America where the disease is present. Some countries may also require vaccination against yellow fever as a condition of entry.

The vaccine

Vaccination is the best protection against yellow fever and its complications.

Women receiving the vaccine should avoid becoming pregnant 1 month after the vaccination.

Symptoms after vaccination

Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine (e.g. redness at the injection site). Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine (e.g. cold, gastro, headache).

Yellow fever vaccine is safe. In most cases, it does not cause any reaction.

The Nature and Frequency of Possible Reactions to Vaccine
FrequencyPossible reactions to the vaccine
Often
(less than 10% of people)
  • Pain and redness at the infection site
Exceptionally
(less than 1 person in 100,000)
  • Serious liver, kidney or nervous system damage that can lead to death
  • Neurological reactions including encephalitis (a brain infection, particularly in very young infants)
These reactions are more common in persons aged 60 and older (less than 1 person in 10,000)

What to Do after Vaccination

Tips to follow immediately following vaccination

Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.

If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.

Tips to follow at home

If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.

Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.

When to Seek Medical Help

See a doctor if one of the following applies to you:

  • You experience serious and unusual symptoms
  • Your symptoms get worse instead of improving
  • Your symptoms last over 48 hours