Questions regarding the safety and duration of immunity following live yellow fever vaccination

Ian J. Amanna, Mark K. Slifka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Introduction: The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health agencies have concluded that yellow fever booster vaccination is unnecessary since a single dose of vaccine confers lifelong immunity. Areas covered: We reviewed the clinical studies cited by health authorities in their investigation of both the safety profile and duration of immunity for the YFV-17D vaccine and examined the position that booster vaccination is no longer needed. We found that antiviral immunity may be lost in 1-in-3 to 1-in-5 individuals within 5 to 10 years after a single vaccination and that children may be at greater risk for primary vaccine failure. The safety profile of YFV-17D was compared to other licensed vaccines including oral polio vaccine (OPV) and the rotavirus vaccine, RotaShield, which have subsequently been withdrawn from the US and world market, respectively. Expert commentary: Based on these results and recent epidemiological data on vaccine failures (particularly evident at >10 years after vaccination), we believe that current recommendations to no longer administer YFV-17D booster vaccination be carefully re-evaluated, and that further development of safer vaccine approaches should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1519-1533
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Review of Vaccines
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Yellow fever virus
  • antibody duration
  • flaviviruses
  • immunity
  • neurotropic
  • vaccination
  • viscerotropic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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