Yellow Fever Certificates

Do you need a yellow fever certificate to enter Tanzania?

To enter Tanzania, some travellers must have a yellow fever certificate. This certificate proves that the person had been inoculated against the disease.

But the rules about who actually needs one, and who doesn’t, have always been a bit convoluted.

Let’s look at the various scenarios now:

Let’s begin by assuming that your home country does not have yellow fever. If this is the case (as it is for most tourists to Tanzania) then the following applies: 

If you’re travelling from your home, and any stops you make on the way are either in a country where yellow fever isn’t present (eg the Netherlands, with KLM) then  YOU WILL NOT NEED A YELLOW FEVER INOCULATION.

Alternatively, if you are travelling from home, but travelling to Tanzania via a country where it is present (eg Kenya), but where you’re staying for less than 24 hours, then  YOU ALSO WILL NOT NEED A YELLOW FEVER INOCULATION.

If, however, you’ve stayed for more than 24 hours in a country where yellow fever is present before visiting Tanzania, then YOU DO REQUIRE A YELLOW FEVER INOCULATION.

So what are the countries where Yellow Fever is present?

Nowhere in Europe, Asia, or Australasia currently has yellow fever. 

These, then, are the countries that do have it:

In Africa

Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, and Uganda.

In the Americas

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Liberia, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago (Trinidad only).

Is it that straightforward?

Of course, matters are further complicated by the fact that officials at the airport in Tanzania may not fully know the rules. Or perhaps they do, but nevertheless demand that you have an inoculation even when you don’t need one.

Why?

Because they want to extort a little bribe from you. Just think about it. They know you’re tired from your flight. They also know it’s probably your first time in Tanzania. And they know, too, that few things scare tourists more than a hypodermic needle being waved in their face in Africa. So you are in a position of vulnerability. And one or two unscrupulous officials will look to exploit that.

This rarely happens now, to be fair. Indeed, the last report we got of this occurring was about three years ago; but it is still a possibility.

Our advice, therefore, is to confirm 100% whether you need one or not. And if you’re certain you don’t, then stand firm and make it clear that you know the rules. Good luck!

How much does a yellow fever jab cost? And where can I get one?

The price varies a lot between countries but in the UK the Yellow Fever jab costs about £50-80. This, of course, includes the certificate to prove you’ve been vaccinated. (And from what I understand, it’s about US$80 for the vaccination in the States).

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