Travellers Going to Yellow Fever Areas

Update on Recent Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage:

There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.

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Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres

For Health Care Sites

What is yellow fever?

Yellow fever is a disease that is present in many areas of South America and Africa, and is caused by a virus that is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Yellow fever can be prevented by a vaccine.

Why do I have to get vaccinated against yellow fever?
  • Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their individual protection.
  • Requirements are put in place by certain countries to protect both individual travellers and countries from the risk of importing or spreading the yellow fever virus.
  • If these requirements apply, you will need an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as proof of vaccination.
Which countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination?
  • A list of yellow fever country entry requirements for yellow fever vaccination is available from the World Health Organization.
  • It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify additional entry requirements.
  • If you do not show a valid certificate at the country border when requested, you may not be allowed to enter, you may be quarantined for up to six (6) days or put under medical surveillance, or you may be required to be vaccinated at point of entry.
If a country doesn't require proof, should I still get vaccinated?

Not all countries where yellow fever exists require proof of vaccination, but you may still be at risk of getting the disease. It is recommended that travel plans include consulting a travel health clinic, Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre, or other health care provider preferably six weeks before departure for an individual assessment to determine the need for immunizations and/or preventive medication, and to get advice on precautions to reduce health risks.

Where do I get the yellow fever vaccine?

Click here to find a Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre near you.

It is recommended that travel plans include consulting a travel health clinic, Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre, or other health care provider preferably six weeks before departure for an individual assessment to determine the need for immunizations and/or preventive medication, and to get advice on precautions to reduce health risks.

What should I expect during my visit to a Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre?

When you visit a Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre, a health care provider should :

  • Assess whether the vaccine is required for your itinerary;
  • Assess whether the vaccine is recommended, if it is not required;
  • Administer the vaccine if indicated;
  • Provide you with additional advice on how to protect yourself against yellow fever;
  • Provide you with written proof of yellow fever vaccination on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis;  
  • If required, may provide you with written documentation explaining why you cannot receive the yellow fever vaccine for medical reasons.
What do I take as proof of yellow fever vaccination when I travel?

The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis is the official document to show proof of vaccination against yellow fever.

Where do I get the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis?

The health care provider who gives you the vaccine must provide you with a completed International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis.

For how long is the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis valid?
  • The certificate becomes valid 10 days after you receive the vaccine
    • if you are getting the vaccine for the first time
    • if you do not have proof of prior vaccination
  • The certificate is valid for 10 years.
  • The expiry date will be written on your certificate by the health care provider.
What stamp should be on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis?

Current research indicates that gender variant individuals consciously select people to disclose to who they trust and who they believe will be supportive and sympathetic to their gender identityFootnote 63. Maintaining the trust and confidentiality of the gender variant youth is, therefore, paramount. For example, when a student discloses their gender identity, ask them what name they would prefer to be called, what pronouns they would prefer you to use with them, talk to them about who they have disclosed to, who is and is not supportive, and who they would like help disclosing to. Do not talk to anyone about their identity, including parents/caregivers, to whom they have not already disclosed their gender identity.

The disclosure of their gender identity is one of the most challenging and important pronouncements gender variant individuals share with others. For many, it may signify the end point of a very long internal struggle to be secretive with their identity because of fear or shame.Footnote 64

Disclosure of one’s identity is a milestone that may signify self-acceptance of their identity and the beginning of a ‘new life’.Footnote 65 It is important, however, to talk to the gender variant youth about the potential range of reactions to this disclosure within the school community and within the family. Discuss with them the possibility of rejection, harassment, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse, and aid the gender variant youth in developing coping mechanisms.Footnote 66 Assist them in identifying resources where they can get information and support (see also the list of resources at the end of this document). Become actively involved in the creation of the school as a safe space for the gender variant student by addressing instances of bullying and harassment immediately, providing inclusive sexual health education programming and educating the entire school community about gender identity issues. For example, organize guest speakers at school assemblies who are gender variant, show films about gender identity issues in the classroom, and ensure that there is literature in the school library related to gender identity.

What can the schools do to support gender variant youth?

Provide a Safe Environment

The most important task for schools is to provide a safe, nurturing, non-violent atmosphere in which to learn, to grow, and to develop for all students, inclusive of all gender identities. Today, Canadian society is more diverse than ever before and educators, school administrators and other people involved with school-aged youth need to become informed of these diverse identities, including gender identities. The first important step for educators is acknowledging that gender variant youth exist in the school system and that expressing various gender identities is an acceptable way of living. Schools should not wait until a gender variant student comes forward to address the issue. By the time a student makes their identity known it is likely that they have been struggling on their own for some time.

Develop School-wide Policies

Gender identity issues need to be handled with dignity and respect in the school system and be clearly outlined though inclusive policies and procedures. School administrators, teaching and support faculty can improve the school environment for gender variant students and foster an environment where people of all gender identities can be themselves, by learning about and providing accurate information about gender diversity, and by supporting gender variant students through inclusive school policy.Footnote 67 Educators themselves may also feel more supported when addressing gender identity issues in the school-setting when anti-harassment policies are in place.Footnote 68

Each designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre has been given stamps with a unique identification number by the Public Health Agency of Canada. This number contains the province code and a unique four-digit number. Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres must use this stamp on the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis in the column marked “Official stamp of the administering centre”.

If your certificate was issued in Canada prior to 2012 and bears a Public Health Agency of Canada stamp, it will remain valid until it expires.

I need to show proof of yellow fever vaccination during my trip, but I cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons. What should I do?

If you cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons, but you are travelling to a country that requires proof of vaccination, the health care provider may provide you with written documentation explaining their medical opinion.

This can be done on official letterhead from the health care site, or using the Certificate of Medical Contraindication to Vaccination, which is provided to all designated sites by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

This document is valid for the duration of your trip.

I lost my International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis. What should I do?

If you have lost your International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, contact the Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre where you received the vaccine. They will be able to provide you with a new certificate.

It is strongly recommended that you keep your certificate in a safe place.

I lost my International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, but the Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre where I received my vaccine no longer exists. What can I do?
  • If you have lost your International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, but the Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre where you received the vaccine no longer exists, contact another Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre.
  • The health care provider may choose to reissue a certificate if they feel that you have acceptable proof of prior vaccination.
  • If you do not have acceptable proof of vaccination, you will need to be revaccinated in order to receive a new certificate.
  • To avoid unnecessary revaccination, it is strongly recommended that you keep your certificate in a safe place.
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