WHO: Yellow Fever Vaccine Now Has Lifetime Validity

from 10 years to life of the person 

World Health Organization (WHO) amended the International Health Regulation (IHR) 2005, Annex 7 which contains regulation about Yellow Fever.

Yellow fever is the only disease specified in the IHR 2005 for which countries may require proof of vaccination from travellers as a condition of entry under certain circumstances and may take certain measures if an arriving traveller is not in possession of such a certificate.
Logo of the World Health Organization

Yellow fever vaccination is carried out for two different purposes:
  1. To prevent the international spread of the disease
  2. To protect individual travellers who may be exposed to yellow fever infection
Based on research findings of WHO in 2014, a single dose of yellow vaccine confers life-long protection, and on the same year adopted a resolution to amend the Annex 7 of the IHR 2005.

Effective on 11 July 2016 the amendment on Annex 7 changes the period of validity of the International Certificate of Yellow Fever Vaccine and the vaccine protection from ten (10) years to the life of the person (traveller) vaccinated, effective on both existing or new certificates. Revaccination or booster dosage cannot be required of the international travellers as condition of entry into a State Party, regardless of the date their international certificate of vaccination was initially issued.

The full texts of Annex 7, as amended and in force for all WHO Member States as of 11 July 2016, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish are available at www.who.int/ith.

WHO also updated the following: (www.who.int/ith)
• List of the Countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and countries requiring yellow fever vaccination.
• List of countries, territories and areas: Vaccination requirements and recommendations for international travellers, including yellow fever and malaria.

WHO provide answers to some question on specific issues about the amendment:

Do travellers need to obtain new IHR certificates of vaccination against yellow fever?

No. Currently valid IHR international certificates of vaccination continue to be valid – now automatically valid for life.

Do existing certificates of vaccination need to be changed or modified to show they are valid for life?
No. Nothing need or should be modified in the certificate; indeed under the IHR any changes, deletions, erasures or additions may cause a certificate to be rendered invalid

On new certificates, what term should be entered in the space on the certificate (see above) indicating the period of validity?
While the IHR do not specify the exact words to include on the certificate to indicate lifetime validity of the certificate, WHO encourages countries to use words which clearly and unambiguously indicate that the validity of the certificate is for life of the person vaccinated.
English: “life of person vaccinated”
French: “vie entière du sujet vacciné”

Does this amendment to the IHR (2005) affect what measures States Parties can implement for the protection of their own populations or what doctors may advise their patients?
No. The amendment only affects what countries may require of international travellers as a condition of entry in terms of vaccination against yellow fever and related IHR international certificates of vaccination. Countries and health care providers continue to be free to make requirements on vaccination, revaccination or boosters for their own populations, or patients, respectively.

What steps should States Parties take to prepare for implementation of the new certificate requirements on 11 July 2016 when they become legally required?
  • Inform all relevant authorities, offices and personnel.
  • Train personnel responsible for review, processing and acceptance of international certificates of vaccination against yellow fever to ensure they can carry out their functions fully on that date
  • Review and update as necessary all laws, regulations, operating rules or procedures or other requirements concerning review, processing and acceptance of international certificates of vaccination against yellow fever to ensure they are consistent with the new requirements.

Share this post or print the copy of the amendment below to update seafarers who are on board.
You can send them a copy to their ship email.
Copy of the WHO amendment of IHR2005 Annex 7 Yellow Fever
Amendment to the International Health Regulations 2005
Annex 7 (Yellow Fever) -click to enlarge PDF form







Seaman Republic: WHO: Yellow Fever Vaccine Now Has Lifetime Validity
WHO: Yellow Fever Vaccine Now Has Lifetime Validity
WHO amended the IHR 2005 Annex 7, changes validity of International Certificate of Yellow Fever Vaccine to lifetime. Vaccine protection good for life.
Seaman Republic
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