A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required on arrival from all travelers 9 months of age and older. The vaccination requirement is imposed by Nigeria for protection against Yellow Fever since the principal mosquito vector Aedes egypti is present in the country. According to the World Health Organization, Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to jaundice that affects some patients. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
According to the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, countries may require proof of vaccination from travelers as a condition for entry. They may also take certain measures if an arriving traveler has no yellow fever certificate (or yellow card). Following an amendment of the IHR 2005 effective 11 July 2016, the validity of a certificate and protection offered by the vaccination changed from 10 years to the life of the traveler vaccinated. Vaccination is recommended for travelers aged 9 months and older.
Nigeria has a high risk of YFV transmission due to the environment and mosquitoes. A traveler cannot enter Nigeria or gain entry into some countries from Nigeria unless with a valid YFV certificate and must have been vaccinated at least 10 days prior to the departure date.
Why Nigeria introduced the e-Yellow Cards
On occasion, fake yellow cards are peddled to travelers at international airports. To curb this, the Federal Government of Nigeria has introduced the electronic yellow card. The new electronic yellow card comes with some advanced security features that will make it easy to detect whether the card was obtained through the approved channel or not. Also, the machine-readable card will make it possible to store the vaccination history of the holder.
How to Get A Yellow Card For Travelling In Nigeria
- Travelers are to visit http://www.yellowcardnigeria .com.
- Click on “Yellow Card” application and fill in personal information.
- Click on the payment button to generate Remita Retrieval Receipt (RRR) code and pay the sum of NGN 2,000 online or to the bank.
- The traveler will then take the payment receipt along with an international passport to any Port Health Services Office, to get vaccinated and obtain the electronic yellow card.
Proof of vaccination is required for travelers in transit through countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission, where such transit is above 12 hours. Foreigners living in Nigeria must also obtain the new “electronic yellow card”.
The electronic yellow card replaced the old “yellow card” effective from 1 April 2019.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Directive
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a new directive to all airlines operating regional and international flights into Nigeria to allow passengers without an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP), known as Yellow card board henceforth.
This directive supersedes the earlier one issued on Yellow Card.
However, passengers are advised that they would be vaccinated accordingly at Points of Entry and the process for obtaining the e-yellow card will be initiated.
This policy shift followed a letter received from the Federal Ministry of Health dated 11th March, 2020 reviewing the implementation of the Nigeria Points of Entry policy on the prevention and control of cross-border transmission of Yellow fever.
The review of the policy arose from the competing priority of the ongoing entry screening of our Points of Entry by the Port Health Services for COVID-19. Hence, entry screening of passengers due to the COVID-19 outbreak will be prioritized by the Port Health Services until the outbreak has been effectively contained.
In view of the above, all airlines operating these flights are to, from 11th March, 2020 implement the reviewed policy of the Federal Ministry of Health as follow:
- Passengers coming to Nigeria without documented proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever (valid yellow card) are allowed to board but be advised that they will be vaccinated accordingly at Points of Entry and the process for obtaining the e-yellow card will be initiated;
- For passengers departing Nigeria, a valid Yellow card will be required for boarding. Airlines are to communicate this policy to their passengers and the policy review is with effect from 11th March, 2020.
The new electronic yellow card should help curb abuse and illegal practices regarding vaccination for travelers. This should further reduce the chances that a traveler does not take the vaccination and therefore poses a risk of yellow fever incidences.
Travelers who hold the current card and were indeed vaccinated can simply exchange their card for the new one otherwise the vaccination must be done when procuring the new electronic yellow card.
Travelers into and out of Nigeria are advised to obtain the new YFV card before the deadline to avoid travel disruptions. They should also check for other requirements such as polio vaccination that may be required when visiting certain countries. SEE: Full List Of Common Diseases in Nigeria