Yellow Fever

SafeGard Travel Medicine physicians recommend the yellow fever vaccine for travelers to specific countries where there is either a risk of the disease or the country requires the vaccine for entry. Currrently there is a shortage of this vaccine in the United States. The CDC has designated certain clinics to provide the European vaccine. The only designated clinics we work with are the Costco in Redmond, WA and the Safeway on Wellesley in Spokane, WA.

What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a viral infection spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms take 3-6 days to develop. They include fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms. After a short period of remission, while some patients fully recover, 15-25% go on to develop serious illness that can lead to yellowing of the skin (from which it gets its name), bleeding, shock, organ failure, and sometimes death.

How can I prevent yellow fever?

All travelers should practice good mosquito precautions. Additionally, travelers to areas where yellow fever is a risk should get the yellow fever vaccine at least ten days before entering the country of risk. The vaccine is presently considered to be good for life, but persons who will have increased risk due to length of stay or high exposure may be encouraged to get a booster shot after ten years.

Who should get the vaccine?

All travelers to areas where there is a risk of contracting yellow fever are recommended to get the vaccine. Additionally, in certain countries, which may not have a risk of yellow fever themselves, you are required to have had the vaccine in order to enter their country when you are coming from a country with risk of yellow fever, including certain airport layovers.

Our physicians may recommend a waiver for travelers over the age of 60 or for those who have contraindications to the vaccine. The waiver may be an acceptable alternative to meet the 'required' demands of some countries, but it is not generally recommended that you travel to a country with risk of yellow fever with simply a waiver. You can discuss with our medical team the possibility of getting the vaccine in these situations. However, due to the increasing age-related risks associated with a first-time exposure to the vaccine, they may recommend you NOT take a specific trip when both the risk of the vaccine and exposure to the disease is high.

After receiving the vaccine, you should receive a yellow card (International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis) that has been signed and stamped with the yellow fever stamp of the authorizing medical professional. If you receive a waiver, it should be stamped and stapled into the yellow card. This should all be done by the pharmacy at the time of your appointment.