Yellow Fever Vaccine
Not all GP clinics in Melbourne stock travel vaccinations. Yarra Medical, however, stocks a full range of travel vaccines, including the yellow fever vaccine.
If you are over nine months of age and living or travelling in an area with a high risk of yellow fever transmission, or work routinely with the yellow fever virus, make sure you receive the yellow fever vaccine. The good thing is that a single dose of yellow fever vaccine results in life-long immunity. You should book an appointment with us for your immunisation 6 to 8 weeks prior to your departure. Some countries require you to be vaccinated for entry, and evidence of this must be entered in your International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis by a WHO authorised healthcare provider. Check the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade websites for updated lists of these countries.
What are yellow fever vaccine side effects?
Serious side effects are rare, in the order of a few cases per million vaccinations. Milder side effects from the vaccine, though also uncommon, can include low-grade fever, mild headache and muscle aches. The site of the injection may become sore, red, itchy, swollen or warm to the touch. Paracetamol is recommended to treat these symptoms.
People who should not receive the yellow fever vaccine
The following people should not receive the vaccination:
- Anyone younger than nine months of age
- Anyone with allergies to eggs
- Anyone who has had a severe reaction to a previous dose, or component, of the vaccine
- Anyone with a weakened immune system (such as those with HIV/AIDS)
- Anyone with a history of thymic disorder
Pregnancy and the yellow fever vaccine
It is not recommended that a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding a baby under nine months of age should receive the vaccine. If travel to areas with high risk of yellow fever is unavoidable, come in and speak with us about your options.
Can children get the vaccine?
Children over nine months of age can receive the vaccine, and it’s important that they do if they are travelling to high risk areas. Not only is it a requirement to get back into Australia, but their immune systems are less developed than an adult’s, so they need all the protection they can get.
How often do I need to get the yellow fever vaccine? Are there required boosters?
The great thing about the yellow fever vaccine is that you only need to get it once; one dose and you have lifelong immunity. On consultation with their doctor, however, some people might consider getting a booster if they’re planning on travelling to a high risk area and its been over 10 years since their vaccination.
Is the yellow fever vaccine mandatory?
This is one of the few vaccines that are mandatory under certain conditions. If you are travelling to a country or region that has a declared presence of yellow fever, then the Australian government re-entry requirements are that you have a vaccination certificate. This is also applicable to those who spend more than 12 hours in an airport that’s located in a country with a declared presence of yellow fever.
What is yellow fever?
Yellow fever is a viral haemorrhagic disease spread by infected mosquitoes found in tropical areas of Central and South America and Africa. It’s name comes from the yellowish skin tone some sufferers develop due to jaundice. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain and fatigue.
After a few days, the fever can go one of two ways – either the patient recovers or, after a couple of days of apparent improvement, they quickly deteriorate into what’s known as the ‘toxic’ stage. 25% of cases can reach this ‘toxic’ stage, in which the virus infects vital organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver. 50% of people who are infected with ‘toxic’ yellow fever die.
For more information please view the Better Health website.
How can travellers protect themselves?
The obvious answer is getting vaccinated. It’s safe and almost 100 per cent effective. Aside from that, do what you can to avoid the mosquitoes that transmit the disease. Tips include:
- Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET or picaridin
- Wear long-sleeved, light-coloured clothes when outdoors
- Avoid wearing perfumes or cologne, some of which can attract mosquitoes
- Try and prevent mosquitoes entering your accommodation
- Use a mosquito net at night
Can I enter Australia if I don’t have a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate?
If you’re entering Australia from a yellow fever risk country without a yellow fever vaccination certificate, you will still be allowed to come in. You’ll be met by a biosecurity officer from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources who’ll give you a stern talking to and impress upon you the seriousness of the disease and hand you a Yellow Fever Action Card, which details what to do if you develop symptoms in the next six days.
To find out the yellow fever vaccine cost, visit our fees page.
For information on other vaccines, see also: