Yellow Fever (cont.)

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What are the side effects of the yellow fever vaccine?

The yellow fever vaccine can have rare but serious adverse side effects. It is generally administered in designated vaccination centers. Health-care providers need to consider the individual's underlying health, their risk of exposure to yellow fever, and the contraindications to vaccine administration before recommending it. To minimize the risk of serious adverse events, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following recommendations:

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

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

  • Age 6-8 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

Individuals who do experience side effects from the yellow fever vaccine will generally experience mild symptoms, including low-grade fever, muscle aches, and headache. However, in rare cases, serious adverse events from the yellow fever vaccine can occur including life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, yellow fever vaccine-associated neurologic disease (a condition affecting the nervous system), and yellow fever vaccine-associated viscerotropic disease (a condition affecting the internal organs).

Where can people get more information on yellow fever?

"Yellow Fever," World Health Organization (WHO)


Busowski, Mary T., M.R. Wallace, and J.L. Robertson. "Yellow Fever." April, 17, 2009. <>.

Nichols, Emily M., and Aleksandr Gleyzer. "Yellow Fever." June, 23, 2010. <>.

Switzerland. World Health Organization. "Media Centre: Yellow Fever." Mar. 2014. <>.

Switzerland. World Health Organization. "Yellow Fever." <>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Yellow Fever." Dec. 13, 2011. <>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Yellow Fever." July 27, 2009. <>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Yellow Fever." Nov. 2, 2007. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/15/2015

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Yellow Fever - Signs and Symptoms Question: What were the signs and symptoms that you, a friend, or relative experienced with yellow fever?
Yellow Fever - Risks Question: If you've traveled to a region at risk for yellow fever, did you get vaccinated beforehand? Discuss your experience.
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