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Yellow fever is a serious mosquito borne viral infection and occurs in Africa and South America.

You may need the yellow fever vaccination ($110) for your protection if visiting ‘at risk’ countries.

You definitely need it for your protection if you are visiting Iguazu Falls (Argentina) and some cities eg Sao Paulo.

Proof of yellow fever vaccination may also be required to enter certain countries e.g. Australia to prevent the introduction and spread of contagious diseases.

Best to get the yellow fever vaccine done first and well before travel.

It is a very effective (>95%) and safe vaccine.

It is not available from any doctor except approved Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres and accredited travel medicine practitioners.

You need to have an appointment with the travel doctor as this vaccine is not without risks.

Please bring in your passport (or a copy) and your 'yellow vaccination book' to your appointment.

The yellow fever vaccination takes place subsequent to a formal medical consultation as per the New Zealand Ministry of Health Policy for the Approval of Vaccinators.

The vaccination can only be documented in the International Health Regulations Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis issued by the Ministry of Health (ie. the yellow book)

The vaccine certificate is legally valid 10 days after the injection.

A single yellow fever vaccine is considered to confer lifetime immunity and countries cannot require revaccination at entry. However revaccination may be indicated in specific cases eg travel to an area with ongoing outbreaks or travel for a prolonged period in an endemic area.

The International Health Regulations concerning yellow fever are unequivocal, and unvaccinated travellers may face denial of entry, vaccination at port of entry or even quarantine in certain circumstances.

This strict control is maintained to ensure that both the individual traveller and the broader communities are protected against outbreaks of this disease.

  • If the vaccine is medically contraindicated, the fee for preparing a yellow fever vaccine waiver is $50. 
  • Waivers can only be issued by yellow fever vaccinators with medically supported documents; advancing age is not a reason for a waiver.

International Health Regulation Certificate : "Yellow Book"

We supply you with the official International Health Regulations Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (NZ Ministry of Health approved). This is included in the initial appointment costs if vaccines are administered. You may be required to show it before you are permitted to enter certain countries. It has space for other pertinent medical details e.g. medical conditions, medication, allergies.

It documents : all immunisations you have had , how long they last and immunity from blood testing eg measles, chicken pox, hepatitis A & B, rabies. 

Yellow Fever Vaccine

The Yellow Fever Vaccine has been in use since the 1930’s and over 400 million vaccines have been given since then.

The current vaccine is called Stamaril. It is an attenuated (disabled) , live-virus preparation of the 17D strain of yellow fever virus grown in chick embryos and is very effective in preventing the disease. A single dose correctly given confers immunity in basically 95+% of recipients. 

This vaccine is given as a single injection given subcutaneously. If a country requires the vaccine for entry, travellers must allow at least 10 days before entering the country for vaccination.

If other live virus vaccines are necessary for travel, they should be completed on the same day as the yellow fever vaccination (we will advise accordingly). Otherwise, travellers may have to wait for one month before other live virus vaccines can be administered. The live-virus vaccines suppresses the immune system, and will reduce the effectiveness of the Yellow Fever vaccine.

This vaccine is a safe and highly effective vaccine against this deadly disease.

200,000 cases of Yellow Fever are estimated to occur yearly on this planet.

  • There is no known treatment to cure the disease.
  • The fatality rate of the disease is reported as 10-50%.
  • Deaths from Yellow Fever disease have occurred in unvaccinated tourists.

Side Effects of the Yellow Fever Vaccine

Reports of serious side effects are extremely rare and generally include fever, headache, and muscle ache. The risks of vaccination are not  zero and the current best estimates of the risk from yellow fever vaccination are: 

Mild Side Effects

  • Most people will get a slight sore arm
  • 3-10% may feel tired, headache, muscle aches, fever for 24 hours starting 3-7 days after the vaccine
  • 1% need to curtail regular activities

More Serious Side Effects

  • 1 in 130,000 will get immediate hypersensitivity – rash, itching, faint or asthma – this is why you need to wait  20 minutes in the clinic
  • 0.09-2.5 per million will get inflammation of multiple organs e.g. lungs, kidney, liver, spleen, skin, blood stream
  • 1 in 8 million will get encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
  • There have been a few deaths reported from the more serious side effects of the vaccine, but this seems to occur in those over 70 years age with certain risk factors

After vaccination, you need to remain at the clinic for 20 minutes in case you have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). This reaction is rare (about one in a million), but may be very serious. It can be easily treated at the clinic, but is not so easy to treat if it happens while you are driving home.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • feeling warm
  • feeling itchy (or developing a rash) away from the injection site
  • feeling faint (especially on standing up) or dizzy
  • a shortness of breath, or a wheeze or cough developing
  • swelling in the throat, face, hands or limbs
  • sudden tiredness

Symptoms usually develop within 20 minutes of vaccination, hence the need to wait in the clinic after receiving the Yellow Fever vaccine.

Occasionally allergic symptoms may occur up to 10 days later. If you develop one or more of the above symptoms within 10 days, immediately call your doctor or go to the nearest casualty department or well equipped medical centre.

Who Should Not Use The Yellow Fever Vaccine

Children younger than 6 months of age, people who have had a previous severe reaction to the vaccine and those who are extremely allergic to eggs should not receive this vaccine. Persons who have a moderate illness (with or without a fever) should postpone receiving this vaccine until they are well.

The following circumstances may increase your risk of reacting badly to the Yellow Fever Vaccine. It is extremely important you notify us if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have a true egg allergy
  • You have had an adverse reaction to Yellow Fever Vaccine before
  • You are, or could be, HIV positive or have AIDS
  • You suffer from a serious weakness of the immune system
  • You have cancer, are taking drugs to control cancer, or are undergoing chemotherapy
  • You have any major liver or kidney disease
  • You are currently taking steroid drugs or cortisone. Recent injections into a joint and steroid asthma puffers are NOT a problem.
  • You are pregnant, or could be pregnant now or in the next three weeks

Yellow Fever Risk Countries

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