Every few years, the Federal Government of Nigeria changes the policy of obtaining yellow fever certificates in the country. In the last six years, I’ve owned two yellow card certificates and I am about to get the third one. Two cards in six years don’t seem like that many but when you consider that these cards should last a minimum of 10 years, you realize that it is one too many.
I remember when I got my first card – you know, we always remember our firsts. She was so young and full of sunshine and hope; excited to see the world, excited to experience the menace of Nigerian immigration officers and the condescension of immigration officers abroad.
Sadly, she never got to experience any of these things. Barely two weeks after I had her, the Government had not only declared that she was invalid but had also declared that the vaccines could no longer be given in private hospitals. I had to get another one.
That short fan fiction brings us back to the reason for this post. It’s 2019 and Nigerian travellers are required to get a new (e)yellow card. But before I get into details of the process of obtaining one, I’ll like to elaborate more on this card and its importance.
What Exactly is a Yellow Card and Why is it Important?
Yellow (fever) cards or certificates are needed to show proof that you have received a vaccination against the disease. The vaccines are administered in order to prevent an outbreak and to protect travelers that may be exposed to infection in areas where the disease is prevalent.
Countries with risk of Yellow Fever transmission
AFRICA – Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.
AMERICAS – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela
There is no treatment or cure for the disease at this time. However, you can prevent infection by preventing against mosquito bites and getting vaccinated.
How and Where to Get the New Yellow Card Certificate in Nigeria
The steps below details the process of getting the new card;
- Start your online application by logging on to the yellow card Nigeria website: https://yellowcardnigeria.com/
- Click on the ‘Register’
- Fill in your personal information
- Click “Pay Now” and generate a receipt
- Make payment of ₦2,000 on the same page (or go to the bank) and print payment confirmation
- Go to the Port Health office with the printed documents and a copy of your passport biodata page
- A vaccine will be administered after your payment has been confirmed.
As for the question of whether you need to take the vaccine again, I don’t think you would have to. When I went to get my second yellow card, I mentioned that I had already been vaccinated, so I wasn’t given another one. I just paid for the card.
Countries that Require Yellow Fever Vaccination (and Cards) for Entry (2018)
As a rule, my yellow card accompanies my international passport everywhere it goes to. That being said, there are some countries who don’t need proof of vaccination. You can find a list of countries who do here.
From April 1st, 2019, all old yellow cards will become invalid. Personally, I think this would be a source of ruckus and more extortion, especially at the land borders. I can imagine the officials telling you that there is a different charge for ‘new entries.’ It would be a miracle if travels went smoothly after this change.
I travelled on the 15th of May with the new yellow card. Since I got it a day before my trip, I was told I couldn’t fly with it. (You have to get the vaccine at least 10 days before you travel and these new cards cannot be backdated). I presented the old one and was allowed to use it. So for now, the old cards are still accepted.
- If you have taken the vaccine in the past, you would not be required to take it again. Simply go to the Port Health office with the old card and you would be fine.
- Children below 10 years have been immunized at 9 months. There’s no need to take another vaccine or bring them at all.
- Pregnant women are not exempted from taking the vaccine
- If you have registered on the website, you will provided with a RRR code. You can use that to pay at any bank or through your bank’s mobile/internet banking app. Apart from the Port Health office at Ikeja, you can get the vaccine and yellow card at Tincan Island Sea Port, Apapa Sea Port, Idiroko border, Seme border and all Federal Secretariats.
I’d like to hear your thoughts… Have you travelled recently with the new yellow card? Was it easy getting and traveling with one?