Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

WHO position paper on vaccines and vaccination against yellow fever

Women queueing with their vaccination cards
WHO/C. Banluta

An updated position paper on yellow fever vaccines and vaccination has been publised in today’s edition of the WHO Weekly Epidemiological record. The updated position paper replaces the previous 2003 WHO position paper and summarizes recent developments in the field.

Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease of humans and other primates, and is currently endemic in 44 countries in the tropical regions of Africa and South America.

Yellow fever vaccination is carried out for three reasons:

  • To protect populations living in areas subject to endemic and epidemic disease;
  • To protect travellers visiting these areas; and
  • To prevent international spread by minimizing the risk of importation of the virus by infected travellers.

A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to sustain life-long protective immunity against yellow fever disease; hence a booster dose is not necessary.

In view of the ongoing transmission of yellow fever virus, and the proven efficacy and safety of yellow fever vaccination, WHO recommends that all endemic countries should introduce yellow fever vaccine into their routine immunization programmes.

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