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Yellow fever booster not needed, says WHO

By News team

A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is enough to protect against infection for life, according to updated advice from the World Health Organization.

The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation examined current evidence and concluded that the yellow fever booster dose, given ten years after the initial vaccination, is not necessary.

"The conventional guidance has been that the yellow fever vaccination has had to be boosted after ten years," said Helen Rees, chairman of SAGE. "Looking at really very good evidence, it was quite clear to SAGE that in fact a single dose of yellow fever vaccine is effective.

"This is extremely important for countries where yellow fever is endemic, because it will allow them to reconsider their vaccine scheduling. It is also important for travellers."

As yet, the National Travel Health Network and Centre has not updated its guidance on yellow fever vaccination. NaTHNaC 's joint directors Dipti Patel and Vanessa Field said: "Any decisions about vaccinations (and yellow fever in particular) require the agreement of a number of interested parties.

"We are in with the relevant bodies, and will communicate our recommendations in response to this once these have been agreed between all relevant parties."

Vaccination is considered to be the most important and effective measure against yellow fever, and some 600 million doses have been dispensed since the 1930s, with only 12 cases of yellow fever known to have occurred post-vaccination. Protective immunity develops within 30 days for 99 per cent of people receiving the vaccination.

Citation: Electronicjuice DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11121467

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