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Clinical Update
Yellow Fever Vaccine Booster

Key Points

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that booster doses of yellow fever vaccine are no longer necessary. However, CDC has not changed the recommendation that US travelers receive booster doses of yellow fever vaccine every 10 years if traveling to an area with risk of exposure to yellow fever virus. Furthermore, the International Health Regulations (IHR) have not changed, and booster doses are still needed if yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into a particular country.

Background

The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts recently concluded that a single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and lifelong protection against yellow fever disease and that a booster dose of the vaccine is not needed. Until now, WHO has recommended booster doses of yellow fever vaccine every 10 years for people residing in or traveling to an area where there is a risk of yellow fever.

Yellow fever vaccine is given to protect a person against the disease, as well as to protect against the spread of the disease among unimmunized people. Under the IHR, countries can require travelers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination, to prevent importation and transmission of yellow fever virus.

Despite the recent announcement from WHO, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) still recommends a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine every 10 years for US travelers to areas with yellow fever risk. The time frame for ACIP to consider this issue is unknown. In addition, the IHR remain unchanged and still require a yellow fever vaccine booster dose every 10 years. Travelers who do not have proof of yellow fever vaccination within the past 10 years may be denied entry into a country with an entry requirement.

Recommendations for Yellow Fever Vaccine Use

Health care providers should make an individual risk assessment for each traveler for whom yellow fever vaccination is being considered, weighing the traveler’s risk for exposure to yellow fever virus, his or her risk factors for adverse events to the vaccine, and any entry requirements of the countries the traveler plans to visit. For more details, see Recommendations of the ACIP: Yellow Fever Vaccine.

 
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