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Everything you need to know about the yellow fever vaccine

Yellow Fever Vaccine

Everything you need to know about the yellow fever vaccine before travelling to Africa, the Caribbean, Central or South America

Planning for a holiday can be both extremely exciting and extremely overwhelming, particularly if your travel itinerary includes exotic far flung locations like Africa, the Caribbean, and Central or South America.

Among your lengthy planning and preparation checklist (flights, accommodation, visas, insurance, etc) should be a travel consult to uncover the health precautions you should address before you leave.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting one the regions mentioned above, you’ve probably heard whisperings of the deadly yellow fever virus.

And while the risk of contracting yellow fever is very real if you are travelling through high-risk zones where there have been outbreaks, it’s important to remember that there is effective immunisation available, which protects you from contracting the disease.

Given the availability of the yellow fever vaccine in Australia, you could say it would be foolish to travel to infected areas without taking this precaution!

If you haven’t heard of yellow fever, here’s what you need to know to make the best decision for your health before you set off on your wild adventure.

What is yellow fever and how is it transmitted to humans?

Yellow fever is a viral disease that is transmitted by Aedes aegypti, a Mosquito also responsible for spreading the Zika virus, and predominantly found in tropical regions of Africa and the Americas.

The full list of Australia’s yellow fever risk countries can be found on the Department of Health website. We suggest reviewing this list to identify the countries you should be careful in.

What are the symptoms of yellow fever and how is it treated?

Symptoms of yellow fever include headache, fever, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and fatigue. In severe cases, up to half of people can die in the first 10-14 days if left untreated

No specific treatment for yellow fever exists, but there are medications available to relieve symptoms and have been found to improve the outcome for severely affected patients. The most effective preventative measure against yellow ever is the WHO-approved vaccination, which is now considered to give lifelong protection (pre-June 2016, a booster shot was required every 10 years).

When should you get the yellow fever vaccine?

The Yellow Fever vaccine exists for two specific purposes, as below

  • To prevent the spread of Yellow Fever in countries with competent mosquito vectors.
  • To protect individual travellers who may be exposed to Yellow Fever in countries of high risk.

Travellers should make arrangements to get vaccinated at 10 days prior to entering a yellow fever risk area as protection takes effect 10 days after the vaccine is administered. Rokeby GP recommends getting the vaccination a month before going overseas for peace of mind, but it’s never too late to book in if you are stretched for time or have forgotten.



Do I need the yellow fever vaccine?

If you are travelling to an at risk area, it is highly recommended to protect yourself with the vaccine – for entry into some countries, all travellers MUST present proof of vaccination or risk being refused entry. In other countries, anyone who has travelled through at-risk areas in the preceding 6-days is required to supply proof of vaccine. Entry may be denied in some cases, and in others the traveller may be subject to surveillance or quarantine for up to 6 days – potentially a large chunk of your otherwise relaxing, well earned break!

It’s recommended to plan ahead and check the yellow fever entry requirements for all the countries you intend entering, including transits. Contact details for diplomatic representatives of various foreign governments with this information can be found here.

Where can I get the Yellow Fever Vaccine and certificate?

Yellow fever vaccinations must be provided by a WHO-approved yellow fever vaccination clinic, like Rokeby GP. We provide you with the yellow fever vaccination certificate in the form approved and required by WHO.

Do I need a travel consultation?

If you are planning to get a yellow fever shot, we recommend booking a travel consultation, so that we can review your full travel itinerary and provide precautionary advice and recommendations across your entire trip.

Our consultations consists of a full review of your itinerary, immunisation and review of recognised documentation. This comprehensive session is suitable for every type of traveller – even those with flexible plans. We believe a prevention is the best approach to safe travels, and the purpose of the consultation is to arm you with all the latest information to stay healthy and safe wherever you go.

Another benefit of a travel consultation is the fact that our dedicated travel doctors are armed with the latest information about changing Yellow Fever zones around the world. A location that may have been considered Yellow Fever-free last month, may have been newly classified as an ‘at risk’ zone – just another reason why a travel consultation is not only advised but also necessary.

What can I expect from a Rokeby GP Travel Consultation?

When making an appointment for our travel clinic over the phone, you will be asked a series of questions to determine the length of the appointment required and your basic requirements. Once an appointment is made, you will then be emailed a form to fill out prior to your appointment time.

Your appointment will consist of two stages, the consult in your doctor’s office, followed by vaccinations in our travel clinic (if necessary). This can take up to an hour, for one individual. A 10-minute observation period post-vaccination is also advised.

Keep in mind you may receive injections to your arms so wear appropriate clothing.

What should I wear to my appointment?

We recommend wearing loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment and to bring as much information as possible in regard to your upcoming travels.

Ready to book your travel consult with Rokeby GP travel clinic?

Call us now on 9381 4880.

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