What Countries Require Proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination in Africa?

Learn about the countries that require proof of yellow fever vaccination for travelers, as well as the risks associated with the vaccine.

What Countries Require Proof of Yellow Fever Vaccination in Africa?

Traveling to Africa can be an exciting and enriching experience. However, it is crucial to be aware of the health risks associated with certain diseases, such as yellow fever. Understanding the countries that require proof of yellow fever vaccination is essential to ensure a safe and hassle-free journey.

Understanding Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes, primarily in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus can cause symptoms ranging from mild fever to severe organ failure and, in some cases, death. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent yellow fever.

Countries Requiring Yellow Fever Vaccination

Several countries in Africa have strict yellow fever vaccination requirements for travelers. It is important to note that these requirements can change over time, so it is essential to check with the embassy or consulate of your destination country before traveling. The following are some of the countries in Africa that currently require proof of yellow fever vaccination:


Burkina Faso


Democratic Republic of Congo




Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and other countries in Africa may also have yellow fever vaccination requirements. It is always advisable to consult official sources for the most up-to-date information regarding travel vaccinations.

Exceptions and Exemptions

While yellow fever vaccination is mandatory in many African countries, certain exceptions and exemptions exist. These can include:

Age exemptions: Some countries may exempt children below a certain age from the vaccination requirement.

Medical exemptions: If you have a medical condition that contraindicates the yellow fever vaccine, you may be eligible for a medical exemption. However, this usually requires a certificate from a qualified healthcare professional.

Transit exemptions: If you are only transiting through an airport in a country with yellow fever vaccination requirements, you may not need to show proof of vaccination. However, it is advisable to check with the relevant authorities to confirm the transit requirements.

It is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements and exemptions of the country you are traveling to in order to avoid any complications during your journey.

Travel Tips for Yellow Fever

To ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience in countries with yellow fever vaccination requirements, consider the following tips:

Plan ahead: Research the vaccination requirements of your destination country well in advance of your trip to allow sufficient time for vaccination and obtaining the necessary documentation.

Get vaccinated: Visit a qualified healthcare professional to receive the yellow fever vaccine at least ten days before your departure. This will ensure that the vaccine has enough time to take effect.

Carry proof of vaccination: Keep the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) with you at all times during your travels. This document serves as proof of your yellow fever vaccination and may be required by immigration officials upon arrival.

Mosquito bite prevention: Besides vaccination, take additional measures to protect yourself from mosquito bites. These can include using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing and pants, and staying in accommodations with mosquito netting or air conditioning.

Travel insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical expenses, including emergency medical evacuation. This will provide peace of mind in case of any unforeseen circumstances during your trip.


Yellow fever is a serious disease that requires attention and precaution, especially when traveling to countries in Africa. Understanding the countries that require proof of yellow fever vaccination is crucial for a safe and hassle-free journey. By planning ahead, getting vaccinated, and following the necessary precautions, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip to Africa.

The yellow fever virus and the mosquitoes that transmit it are found in certain parts of South America and Africa, putting travelers to these areas at risk of infection. Some countries may require arriving travelers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination as a public health measure to prevent the virus from being imported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes recommendations on the yellow fever vaccine for travelers going to countries where there is a risk of contracting the virus. A single dose of the vaccine is usually enough to provide lifelong protection, but some travelers may be recommended a booster dose after 10 years.

Before getting vaccinated, it is essential to discuss your complete medical history with a healthcare provider, as the vaccine can have serious and sometimes fatal side effects. People over 60 years of age and those with weakened immune systems may be at greater risk of experiencing these side effects. There is also concern for the babies of pregnant and breastfeeding women who receive the yellow fever vaccine. In addition to individual country requirements, other countries may also require the yellow fever vaccine depending on the country you are traveling from or to which you have recently traveled.

If you feel unwell after a trip, especially if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about your journey.

Is yellow fever vaccination mandatory for all travelers to Africa?

No, yellow fever vaccination is not mandatory for all travelers to Africa. However, certain countries in Africa have strict yellow fever vaccination requirements. It is important to check the specific requirements of your destination country before traveling.

How long does the yellow fever vaccine provide protection?

The yellow fever vaccine provides long-lasting protection. In most cases, a single dose provides immunity for life. However, some countries may require a booster dose after a certain number of years.

Are there any side effects of the yellow fever vaccine?

Like any vaccine, the yellow fever vaccine can cause mild side effects such as fever, headache, and muscle pain. Serious side effects are rare but possible. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before receiving the vaccine.

Can I get a yellow fever vaccine at the airport before my trip?

It is generally not advisable to rely on getting a yellow fever vaccine at the airport before your trip. It is best to visit a qualified healthcare professional well in advance to ensure proper vaccination and documentation.

Can I travel to countries without yellow fever vaccination requirements if I have been vaccinated?

Even if you have been vaccinated against yellow fever, it is still important to check the requirements of each country you plan to visit. Some countries may have specific entry requirements regardless of vaccination status.

Remember to consult official sources and healthcare professionals for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding yellow fever vaccination requirements and travel guidelines.

Tia Szymansky
Tia Szymansky

Having Spent 8 Years Travelling, I have decided to Live in Africa for the past 2 years. Love every moment of it and sharing my best guides and tips if you plan on travelling here. Africa is always oversighted due to media and I believe with my blog, I can help revive the African Travel and Tourism Industry and invite you all here for a fantastic time :)

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