Proof of Yellow Fever Vax at Borders

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Proof of Yellow Fever Vax at Borders

1. Posted by TTRefugee (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Got my last yellow fever shot over ten years ago, and the new thinking is that this one is good for life and no longer just ten years.

My question is whether national customs officials (esp. in Africa and the Middle East, where I used to travel a lot and hope to again) seem to be respecting the "good for life" part, or whether people have been turned back or have had trouble with documents showing shots dated over ten years ago.

Any help or pointers much appreciated. Thanks!

2. Posted by GraemeBots (Budding Member 19 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

In theory you can be asked for proof of yellow fever vaccination at the Botswana border, if you have come in from countries where contracting yellow fever is a risk. (Yellow fever doesn't occur here and we don't want it). I think the situation is the same for Namibia. But in practice I have had my International Certificate of Vaccination ready at hand many times, but the Port Health officers have never wanted to look at it.
The only place I've ever been asked for the certificate was before boarding the ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar.

Under the heading 'Valid until" my certificate reads 'Life of person vaccinated" and this wasn't questioned in Dar es Salaam. Yours clearly says something different. We will both have received the same vaccine. But I don't expect you will have any problems.

Good luck, Graeme

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1618 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I decided to get another yellow fever shot. The new international vaccination certificate I received declares the "vaccine valid 13 May 2021 for life." The old certificate (in not so good shape because of substantial travel) reads "valid 11 Feb. 2011 - 11 Feb. 2021." In my experience, while some countries do not check at ports of entry others do. And in some cases certificates of vaccination are requested at interior checkpoints as was the case for me in Cameroon and Gabon. While some officials may know the yellow fever vaccination is valid for life, others might not. So to forestall any difficulties I decided to get another shot in advance of travel to West and Central Africa.

4. Posted by TTRefugee (Budding Member 4 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks to you both! Botswana is a possibility for this year, as is Tanzania.

Those land and sea borders are of particular concern, as I've often been asked to show my certificate. I was held up (I think Matadi/Noqui) for having crossed out an old address on my card to add a new one. That took some banter to get out of...

I was unaware the new certificates had different wording. That may be reason enough for me to get another jab though it'll mean having to carry three of the things around, going back a long way.

Thanks again GraemeBots and berner256!

5. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1618 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

You only need to carry the most recent yellow card, not the old ones.