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Yellow Fever Vaccine

What Does This Vaccine Help Prevent?

This vaccine helps prevent yellow fever—a virus caused by a mosquito bite. Some people have no symptoms. Others may have flu-like symptoms and jaundice. Serious problems include bleeding, organ failure, and sometimes death.

Yellow fever is found in parts of Africa and South America.

What Is the Yellow Fever Vaccine?

This vaccine uses pieces of the virus. These pieces cannot cause an infection. They show the immune system what the virus looks like. If the virus enters the body, the immune system will be able to see it and attack before an infection starts.

Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?

People may need the vaccine if they live in or go to places where yellow fever is common.

What Are the Risks Associated With Yellow Fever Vaccine?

The most common side effects are:

Rare, serious reactions may be:

Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?

Some people should not get the vaccine. This may include:

If you need the vaccine, talk to your doctor about the risks.

What Other Ways Can Yellow Fever Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?

To help lower your chances of yellow fever:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization


Domingo C, Fraissinet J, et al. Long-term immunity against yellow fever in children vaccinated during infancy: a longitudinal cohort study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019;19(12):1363–1370.

Yellow fever travel information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/yellow-fever-information. Accessed January 27, 2021.

Yellow fever vaccine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-monograph/yellow-fever-vaccine. Accessed January 27, 2021.

Yellow fever VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/yf.html. Accessed January 27, 2021.

Last reviewed January 2021 by David Horn, MD  Last Updated: 1/27/2021