Yellow Fever Vaccine
Getting yellow fever is much riskier than getting the yellow fever vaccine; however, just like with any medicine, there are possible risks with the yellow fever vaccine. Most of the possible problems that can occur are minor, meaning that they go away without treatment or are very easily treated by a healthcare provider. The risk of the yellow fever vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
Minor problems that can occur following the vaccine include:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot is given and last for 5 to 10 days. In research studies, these problems occurred in as many as 25 percent of people who received the yellow fever vaccine.
Severe problems can also occur with the yellow fever vaccine, although these are very rare.
Severe problems can include, but are not limited to:
- Life-threatening allergic reaction (approximately 1 reported per 131,000 doses)
- Severe nervous system reactions (approximately 1 reported per 150,000 to 250,000 doses)
- Life-threatening severe illness with major organ system failure (approximately 1 per 200,000 to 300,000 doses, or per 40,000 to 50,000 doses in people 60 years of age and older).
These problems can occur 1 to 30 days after the vaccination is given, and can include symptoms such as:
- High fever
- Behavioral changes
- Flu-like symptoms
- Difficulty breathing
- Hoarseness or wheezing
- Fast heartbeat
Call your doctor right away if any of these symptoms occur, or if anything else does not feel normal.