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When should I get the yellow fever vaccine before travel?

Generally, a good rule of thumb is be sure to get the yellow fever vaccine at least ten days before you arrive in a country where it is recommended or required.

The timing for getting the yellow fever vaccine before travel can vary slightly, depending on several factors, including the country or region you are visiting, the specific vaccination requirements, and your individual health status. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Required Vaccination: Some countries, especially in Africa, have a mandatory requirement for proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. In such cases, you will typically need to receive the vaccine at least 10 days before your arrival. This is because it takes about 10 days for your body to develop immunity after receiving the vaccine. If you receive it less than ten days before entering the country, they could wave you through or stop you depending on the day. It's best to get it done early.

  2. Recommended Vaccination: Even if yellow fever vaccination is not mandatory, it is often recommended for travelers visiting areas where yellow fever is endemic or at risk of transmission. In these situations, it is still advisable to receive the vaccine at least 10 days before your travel to ensure adequate protection.

  3. Certificate Validity: The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) for yellow fever is valid starting 10 days after vaccination and remains valid for life. This means that if you have previously received the yellow fever vaccine and you can locate your yellow vaccine card, you usually don't need a booster dose.

It's important to note that some countries have specific entry requirements regarding yellow fever vaccination, including exemptions for certain age groups or medical conditions. Additionally, there are situations where vaccination may not be recommended due to medical contraindications. Consulting with a travel health specialist is essential to determine the specific requirements and recommendations based on your travel plans and individual circumstances.

Remember that yellow fever is a serious disease, and vaccination is an effective preventive measure. Be sure to check the official guidelines and requirements of your destination country or region well in advance of your travel to allow ample time for vaccination, if necessary.


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