YF-Vax, |YF-Vax

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Generic Name: yellow fever vaccine (yell O fee ver vack seen)
Brand Names: YF-Vax

What is yellow fever vaccine?

Yellow fever is a serious disease caused by the yellow fever virus. Yellow fever is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It cannot be spread from person to person. Yellow fever can cause fever and flu-like illness, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), liver failure, respiratory failure, kidney failure, vomiting of blood, and possibly death. The yellow fever vaccine exposes the individual to a small amount of the virus (or to a protein from the virus) and causes the body to develop immunity to the disease.

What is the most important information I should know about yellow fever vaccine?

People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Those who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting yellow fever vaccine.

Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to eggs, chicken, gelatin, or yellow fever vaccine should not get yellow fever vaccine.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving yellow fever vaccine?

Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to eggs, chicken, gelatin, or yellow fever vaccine should not get yellow fever vaccine.

Before receiving yellow fever vaccine, talk to your doctor if you:

  • have HIV or AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system;

  • are taking a medication that affects the immune system (e.g. steroids, anti-rejection medications);

  • have cancer;

  • are receiving cancer treatment with x-rays, radiation, or medication; or

  • have recently had a blood transfusion or were given other blood products.

Ask your healthcare provider for more information. Yellow fever vaccine may not be recommended in some cases.

Infants younger than 9 months of age generally should not receive yellow fever vaccine. For infants 6 to 8 months of age who cannot avoid travel to yellow fever area, vaccination options should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Under no circumstances should infants younger than 6 months of age be vaccinated with yellow fever vaccine.

If you are 65 years of age or older, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of receiving the yellow fever vaccine before getting vaccinated.

People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Those who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting yellow fever vaccine.

Women who are pregnant should avoid travel to a yellow fever area. If travel cannot be avoided, discuss vaccination with your doctor. Talk to your doctor before getting yellow fever vaccine if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is yellow fever vaccine administered?

Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will administer the yellow fever vaccine as an injection.

Yellow fever vaccine should be administered to persons 9 months of age or older traveling to or living in an area where the risk of yellow fever is known to exist. Some countries may require vaccination.

After receiving the vaccine, you should receive an International Certificate of Verification (yellow card) that has been validated by the vaccinations center. This certificate becomes valid 10 days after vaccination and lasts for 10 years. You will need this card as proof of vaccination to enter certain countries.

If you cannot receive the yellow fever vaccine because of a medical reason and proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for your travel, your doctor can give you a waiver letter. When planning to use a waiver letter, you should also obtain specific advice from the embassy of the country or countries you plan to visit.

If you continue to travel or live in yellow fever endemic areas, you should receive a booster dose of yellow fever vaccine every 10 years.

As with any disease transmitted by mosquitos, precautions should be taken to prevent exposure to yellow fever. Theses precautions may include remaining in well screened areas, wearing clothes that cover most of the body, and using an effective repellant ( i.e. containing up to 50% N,N-diethylmetatoluamide (DEET)).

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if a dose of yellow fever vaccine is missed.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of yellow fever vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after getting yellow fever vaccine?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity before or after receiving yellow fever vaccine.

Yellow fever vaccine side effects

Getting yellow fever is much riskier than getting the yellow fever vaccine. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of yellow fever vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Most people who get yellow fever vaccine do not have any problems with it.

Seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately if any of the following rare but serious side effects from yellow fever vaccine are experienced:
  • a serious allergic reaction including swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; hives; paleness; weakness; dizziness; or a fast heart beat within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot;

  • behavior changes; or

  • seizures (jerking or staring).

Other less serious side effects may occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • mild to moderate fever;

  • soreness or swelling where the shot was given;

  • flu-like symptoms; or

  • mild rash.

Your doctor may recommend reducing fever and pain by taking an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, others) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Your healthcare provider can tell you the appropriate dosages of these medications..

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Contact your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect yellow fever vaccine?

Talk to your doctor before receiving yellow fever vaccine if you are taking any of the following medications that may affect the immune system:

  • an oral or injectable steroid medication such as betamethasone (Celestone), cortisone (Cortone), dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisolone (Prelone, Pediapred), prednisone (Orasone, Deltasone, others), or triamcinolone (Aristocort);

  • an inhaled or nasal steroid such as beclomethasone (Qvar, Beclovent, Beconase, Vanceril, Vancenase), budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort), flunisolide (Aerobid, Nasalide, Nasarel), fluticasone (Flovent, Flonase), mometasone (Nasonex), or triamcinolone (Azmacort, Nasacort);

  • treatment for cancer with chemotherapy (medication), radiation, or x-rays;

  • azathioprine (Imuran);

  • basiliximab (Simulect);

  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf);

  • etanercept (Enbrel);

  • leflunomide (Arava);

  • muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone);

  • mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept);

  • sirolimus (Rapamune); or

  • tacrolimus (Prograf).

Drugs other than those listed here may also affect whether or not you should receive the yellow fever vaccine. Talk to your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, minerals, or herbal products you are taking.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist may have additional information or suggest additional resources regarding yellow fever vaccine.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ("Multum") is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum"s drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum"s drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01. Revision Date: 5/24/04 10:00:43 AM.

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