Is the Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage Really ‘Bugging’ You?
Travelling to Africa or South America? You may be at risk for Yellow Fever.
If you are travelling to Africa or South America, you may be at risk for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially serious and life threatening disease caused by a virus spread by an infected mosquito. The best way to prevent yellow fever is to get vaccinated!
There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. A return to normal supply is only expected in late 2018. When travelling to an area with yellow fever risk, especially to areas experiencing an outbreak, the best option is to receive a full dose of the vaccine or to postpone travel.
When this is not possible, the Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended the use of a fractional dose of yellow fever vaccine. Based on existing evidence the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that a fifth of the standard vaccine dose (0.1mL instead of 0.5mL) will provide protection against yellow fever for at least 12 months.
The WHO states that a fractional dose does not qualify for a yellow fever certificate. Therefore, when receiving a fractional dose travellers are provided with a waiver which is valid for 12 months beginning 10 days after vaccination. An explanation that the traveller received a fractional dose due to a severe vaccine shortage is written on the waiver. This waiver should satisfy border entry requirements.
What should you do if you are travelling to Africa or South America?
Book your consultation at TravelSafe Clinic as soon as possible! We will review your itinerary, vaccine history, and medical history to determine if the yellow fever vaccine is recommended for you.
If you need the vaccine you will then need to book a separate appointment to return for a yellow fever fractional dosing clinic. You will be booked with a group of people at the same time to receive a fractional dose since the vaccine must be used within one hour once opening (so please arrive on time for your fractional dose!).
Depending on vaccine availability you will either return to TravelSafe Clinic for the fractional dose or be referred to another travel clinic for vaccination.
Is there any option to receive a full dose?
Due to the extreme vaccine shortage TravelSafe Clinic is only able to offer a fractional dose when the vaccine is in stock. You may be able to locate a full dose at other travel clinics in Vancouver that have a greater supply of the vaccine. There are also a number of yellow fever vaccination centres in major airports serving as transit points to Africa and South America.
This may be an option if you will not be at yellow fever risk or required to show the vaccine certificate for at least 10 days following vaccination and if you have no major medical issues. It may be possible to make a vaccine appointment if travelling through airports in Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Johannesburg, and Mexico City. We can review your options during your consultation at TravelSafe Clinic.
Yellow fever certificates now valid for life!
As of July 2016 yellow fever certificate validity changed from 10 years to life of the person vaccinated. Therefore a yellow fever booster is no longer needed if it has been longer than 10 years since previous vaccination. The lifetime validity automatically applies to all existing and new certificates, beginning 10 days after vaccination. So hang on to those old yellow fever certificates!