Yellow fever

This section provides downloadable documents on the Policy for the Authorisation of Yellow Fever Vaccinators and Vaccination Centres, forms to apply for or renew authorisation as a yellow fever vaccinator or vaccination centre, and a list of currently authorised Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in New Zealand.

About yellow fever

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It is endemic to 44 countries in tropical areas of Africa and the Americas. Infection with the yellow fever virus causes varying degrees of disease, from mild symptoms to severe illness with bleeding and jaundice.

There are an estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever worldwide each year. About 15% of people infected with yellow fever progress to a severe form of the illness, and up to half of those will die, as there is no cure for yellow fever.

Travellers to areas considered “at risk” can help limit the spread of the disease to vulnerable local populations by ensuring they are vaccinated where recommended. See the World Health Organization Yellow Fever Fact Sheet for more information. 

Yellow fever vaccine

Vaccination is the most important and effective measure against yellow fever. The yellow fever vaccine provides effective immunity within 30 days for 99% of people vaccinated and over 600 million doses have been dispensed worldwide since vaccination began in the 1930s.

A single dose confers sustained immunity and life-long protection. Side-effects are rare and serious adverse events are rarely reported. The risk is higher for people over 60 years of age and anyone with severe immunodeficiency due to symptomatic HIV/AIDS or other causes, or who have a thymus disorder.

People who are usually excluded from vaccination include:

  • infants aged less than 9 months
  • pregnant and/or breastfeeding women
  • people with severe allergies to egg protein; and
  • people with severe immunodeficiency due to symptomatic HIV/AIDS or other causes, or who have a thymus disorder.

In New Zealand, yellow fever vaccine is only available from specifically-authorised yellow fever vaccination centres (see the current list of Authorised Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres, below).

Vaccination and certification requirements when travelling

Countries are able to require proof of vaccination against yellow fever as a condition of entry, at their discretion. The list of countries that do require vaccination changes on a regular basis and you are advised to seek up to date advice from a travel medicine centre and/or the relevant country embassy(s) well before you travel. 

New Zealand does not currently require proof of vaccination against yellow fever if you are travelling back from an at-risk area, however Australia and other countries commonly visited by New Zealanders may do, so be sure to check the requirements for all countries on your planned itinerary.

A single yellow fever vaccination (regardless of how long ago it was administered) is now considered to confer lifetime immunity starting from 10 days after administration – previously it was considered effective for up to 10 years. The standard ‘International Health Regulation Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis’ certificate you receive recording the vaccination is therefore now valid for life. 

Authorisation of Yellow Fever Vaccinators and Vaccination Centres

Authorisation Policy - NEW

Following a period of consultation the Policy for Authorisation of Yellow Fever Vaccinators and Vaccination Centres has now been updated.  A summary of feedback received during the consultation can be found below.

The new policy is below and effective from 15 August 2017 for both new and renewed authorisations.

Applications for Authorisation as a Yellow Fever Vaccinator or Vaccination Centre

These application forms have been updated to match the new policy and are effective 15 August 2017 for both new and renewed authorisations.  Please print and send the completed forms along with all supporting documentation (as per the included checklist) to your local Medical Officer of Health. 

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