Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements in State of Flux

Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) updated its
stance on booster vaccinations for yellow fever, stating that a single
vaccination should be considered effective for life instead of ten years as

Pending the update of WHO International Health Regulations announced for 10
July 2016, vaccination practices and requirements are in a state of flux with
some countries considering that yellow fever vaccinations require ten year
boosters and asking seafarers to provide vaccination certificates with ten year
validity, some still vaccinating local populations every ten years but
recognising life-time validity for seafarers, and others recognising lifetime
validity for both their own vaccinations and for those of visitors to their

The WHO has produced a summary of the official yellow fever vaccination
requirements across the globe: 

Fever WHO.pdf

but in May this year, a survey carried out by the Budd Group’s
offices revealed that local port health officials were not necessarily aware of
their country’s offical position regarding yellow fever vaccination
requirements and might still demand yellow fever vaccination certificates
with ten year validity even in countries where  lifetime validity is
officially recognised by their national health authority.

This is the case in Angola where the port of Luanda’s Sanitary
Authority advised both Budd Angola and our joint ship-agent subsidiary,
Africamar, that seafarers must present vaccination certificates with ten year
validity, particularly since there is currently a yellow fever epidemic in the

Similarly, our Nigeria office
advised that although officials are aware of the lifetime validity for this
vaccination, no official port circulars have yet been issued and seafarers
would be best advised to present vaccination certificates with ten year
validity in order to avoid any problems.

Port health authorities in
Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have said that
although no official circulars have been issued, sanitary authorities will not
refuse entry to seafarers with lifetime validity vaccination certificates.

Two countries have confirmed to us
that they recognise lifetime validity of yellow fever vaccinations for both the
local population and for visitors:  Congo (Pointe Noire) and Senegal.

Nevertheless, until such time as
the amended International Health Regulations have been issued and fully adopted,
it would seem to be a wise precaution to ensure that seafarers calling in African
ports continue to present yellow fever vaccination certificates with ten year


Penwarden, Budd Marseille


Sources:  WHO, Budd Network & Africamar

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