How to get a yellow fever vaccine in Brazil for free

Do you really need a yellow fever vaccine certificate to enter Brazil? To be honest, I entered Brazil twice and I was never asked for this piece of paper. There are a lot of stories all over the internet saying different things and I’ve collected a few of them below:

Opinion1: Yellow fever is only needed when you are going to the Amazon but if you’re going to big cities, you’ll be fine.

Opinion 2: Yes it is necessary because when you return home you have to show the yellow fever vaccine certificate to re-enter your country. Check with your immigration authorities.

Opinion 3: I don’t know of any country routinely requiring one to show proof of yellow fever vaccination when returning from Brazil, unless you were in a yellow fever-endemic area.

Opinion 4: You are required to show your vaccination certificate upon entering/exiting Brazil.

Opinion 5: Whatever it takes, going to Brasil or not, travel vaccines are important and should be prioritized.

For further reference, click here for the yellow fever vaccination recommendations in Brazil.

The fact that a country has no requirement for yellow fever vaccination does not imply that there is no risk of yellow fever transmission.

Regardless of what I read over the internet, whether I assessed myself to “I am not required to take this vaccine” or not, I still took it. I mean, come on, it’s your health we’re talking about here. Yellow fever could be anywhere and not based on where you came from or which citizenship you have. Country list is a total nonsense. Why don’t you just take it?

After all, it’s valid for 10 years and it’s for free!

Okay, I’d like to apologise to one of my friends from London because I didn’t know before that you can get the yellow fever shot in Brazil for free so he paid whooping pounds just to get the vaccine before travelling to South America. Experience is the best teacher, right?

Now that I know you can get it for free, these are the steps on getting your yellow fever vaccine to those who are travelling Brazil.

Step 1. Go to a hospital/medical clinic

It’s best if you have a local friend who can accompany you or refer you to a doctor who gives yellow fever shots to foreigners. All you have to do is bring your passport as an identification.

Step 2. Get the vaccine

It’s fast. It doesn’t hurt. They use a very tiny needle for this shot and I didn’t feel a thing. Although I anticipated a lot beforehand as I remember the needle from the HPV shot I had in the Philippines. I couldn’t move my arms for days! But the yellow fever shot was so fast I said, “that’s it?!”

Important note: This is not the certificate yet!

After that, you will be given a paper with all your personal information with the doctor’s signature — a proof that you already had the shot. But wait, that’s not the certificate yet! But please, keep it.

Step 3. Get your certificate (the real one)

Remember that paper given to you by the doctor? You have to exchange that to a real certificate at any airport in Brazil. I was told I can only do this in Guarulhos (International Airport) but I got mine in Congonhas.

Now this is the real certificate.

Additionally, to save you time and money, you can just get this once you fly out (either locally or internationally). You don’t need to go to the airport as soon as you receive the temporary cert. Either way, there are airports closer to the city like Congonhas so just to make sure, you can do it the same day as well.

Remember, regardless of country requirements, it is very important to get this certificate and I highly recommend it. I wasn’t also asked for this certificate when I entered other countries in South America but take note that I did travel by land. Borders ask different questions from airport immigration.

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

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