Acceptance of yellow fever vaccine in the older traveller: a cohort study Yellow fever vaccination in elderly: adherence and challenges

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Pietro Ferrara
Cristina Masuet-Aumatell
Josep Maria Ramon-Torrell


adherence; older traveller; yellow fever vaccine; safety


Background and aim: Current demographic changes and improvement of quality of life of elderly population have direct consequences on international travelling. The older traveller demands for specific care and precautions to be observed, as for the yellow fever (YF) vaccination, due to the increased incidence rate of adverse events following immunization (AEFI) in people aged 60 years or over. The aim of our study was to determine the adherence to YF vaccine and travel behaviours in a sample of elderly travellers moving to YF endemic areas.

Methods: Participants in this cohort study were offered YF vaccine, and informed about the increased risk of AEFIs and the unavoidable risk of acquiring YF at the destination. The research was planned on survey-based design, using pre- and post-travel questionnaires.

Results: In 2018, 239 travellers aged 60 years or older attended our travel clinic, of whom 36.8% (n = 88) planned to travel to YF endemic areas and 23.0% (n = 55) for the first time. Of these, 63.6% accepted and 36.4% rejected the vaccination, with 15 travellers moving to endemic areas without immunization, including one patient who presented contraindications to YF vaccine.

Conclusions: The presence of more than a third of elderly travellers who travelled without vaccination is a substantial public health problem and, since the number of older travellers continues to increase, it becomes necessary to implement robust actions to improve YF vaccine advocacy and adherence.


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