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Yellow fever: proof of vaccination valid for life and the exceptions


Image 1/1 : a picture of a bug

The WHO declared in June 2016 that the certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is valid for life. However, it is unsure whether a single vaccination offers lifelong protection. That's why the threshold to offer a single additional booster is very low. This is an update with the Belgian national guidelines.

For the following categories of people a yellow fever vaccination is not valid for life, but for a period of one year. For these persons, a single booster is recommended before their next exposure to yellow fever:

  • Pregnant persons
  • Age < 24 months (revaccination is recommended after the age of 24 months)
  • Interval of less than 28 days between the administration of the yellow fever vaccine and another live vaccine (e.g. measles)

In people with a possibly impaired immune response a booster vaccination or testing of neutralising antibodies is recommended after ten years:

  • Due to HIV (irrespective of the CD4 count, booster/testing is recommended after 10y)
  • Due to medication that supresses the immune system (high dose of cortisones, certain treatments for autoimmune diseases)
  • Persons who received a vaccination against yellow fever before they had a bone marrow transplantation (revaccination is indicated, if no contra-indications)

In case of increased risk of exposure to yellow fever, a single booster (or testing of neutralising antibodies) is recommended after 10 years.

  • Laboratory workers handling wild type yellow fever
  • Persons travelling to a hyper endemic area or area with an epidemic (red areas on the yellow fever maps)


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