From the 16th September on I plan to stay in Addis Ababa for a week. Now I have discovered that there are recommendations to get a Yellow Fewer vaccination for a stay in Ethiopia Link. Due to the spontaneous decision for the trip and bad planning on my side I am not vaccinated yet. I have further learned that it takes 10 days until the vaccine becomes effective Link. As I would directly fly from central Europe, I think I won’t be denied entry into the country (I wasn’t in a Yellow Fever risk region lately). However I wonder how high the risks are of getting Yellow Fever in the city? I don't plan any trips to the countryside during my stay. Should I chancel my trip, or does it make sense to still get vaccinated or should I simply go without vaccination? So I don't know if a 7 day old vaccine is still better than none or how big the risks of getting the sickness are anyway? As Yellow Fever is transmitted by mosquitos and Addis Ababa is on high elevation I wonder if that could help to reduce risks.

I've established that

  • Ethiopia is a Yellow Fever risk region
  • The vaccination takes 10 days to be effective
  • The virus is transmitted by mosquitos
  • Addis Abeba lies on 2350m elevation

My questions would be:

  • Is Addis Abeba a Yellow Fever risk region (apparently it isn't for Malaria because of the high elevation Link )
  • How is the effectiveness of the vaccination developed over time? Is it at 5 days after the vaccine 50% effective or 0%?
  • Will I be allowed to enter the country without a valid Yellow Fewer vaccination certificate?


With the hint from @Michael Seifert that Yellow fewer is transmitted by Aedes aegypti I found a world map which shows propability of predicted occurence for that species Link. It seems chances of encountering it in Addis (marked with a red dot) are slim. However I've not checked other Aedes which apparently also can spread Yellow Fever and I still assume it's a good idea to get vaccinated. Overlay of map data Spreading of Aedes aegypti

  • 2
    From what I can tell, the idea that Addis Ababa is low-risk for malaria isn't based on its altitude. The CDC, for example, recommends malaria vaccinations for all areas at an elevation of less than 2500 m except for Addis Ababa. My guess is that the capital just has better control of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 13:43
  • 4
    Also note that the mosquito family that predominantly transmits malaria (Anopheles) is different from the one that predominantly transmits yellow fever (Aedes), so you can't necessarily extrapolate from one to the other. It's entirely plausible to me that Addis Ababa is low-risk for malaria but not for yellow fever. Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 13:44
  • You might want to check your travel insurance cover before you decide what to do
    – Traveller
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 14:34
  • 1
    My certificate was never checked on arrival at Bole airport in Addis although that was a few years ago.
    – mdewey
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


Ethiopia does not presently require yellow fever vaccination for entry from regions where yellow fever is not endemic, so it is legally permissible for you not to get vaccinated before travel, or to get vaccinated less than ten days before travel.

The US CDC, however, does include Addis Ababa in its list of places where yellow fever vaccination is recommended, as does the WHO.

While the risk of yellow fever is probably relatively low on your planned urban itinerary, the risk of bad effects from the vaccine is even lower for most people. Immunity is not an exact process, and there is nothing magical about the ten-day threshold, except as provided for by some legal systems. I would recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible so you can have the most protection by the time of your planned trip; plus, you'll then be all set for any future travel you may want to do at some future last minute. Qualified medical personal are also the most able to evaluate you for any other vaccines that may be recommended for your travel as well as any medical conditions you may have that would suggest you should not receive this vaccination.

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