Yellow Fever Free For All

If you’re like me (cheap and/or a procrastinator) you may find yourself in the position of needing a vaccine abroad. If that vaccine is Yellow Fever and you’re in Rio de Janeiro I’m here to help!

Things you’ll need:

  • Passport
  • Your big kid pants

To get this vaccine free you need to go to one of the many public health clinics around Rio. As my husband and I were staying in Sao Conrado, the closest to us was Gávea, however there are many other locations so it’s worth checking if another is closer. The full list can be found here or I’ve attached it below:


If you decide to go to the Gávea location as we did, you’ll walk through an open gate and see what looks like a main lobbish area at the front of the area (see arrow below). Don’t go there. Instead walk around the left and go to the building in the back. There you’ll walk to the last room as indicated by the star below, here you tell them you’d like the YF vaccine. When we arrived on a weekday early afternoon there were about 4 people waiting but it only took about 10 min until it was our turn.

pic2Once you’re up and you enter the room, don’t expect it to look like an American clinic, it’s a room with a couple chairs and a guy standing there waiting to make you cry…JUST KIDDING! I was already crying…not kidding, I hate needles! At this point you hand your passport to someone sitting at the desk and either take a seat or stand next to the guy. This is when things move quickly so you have to pay attention and I recommend checking two important things:

  1. Watch the guy to make sure he opens a sealed needle, not one on the counter, not one in an opened package, you want new…your there to prevent disease, not get one!  Even having been told to do this for years by our Brazilian mother, things happened quickly and we actually missed the guy open the package.  This caused some tension as my husband insisted he open another so we could watch, which the guy gruntingly did…and then grabbed his junk and I believe cussed at us…whatever, it was worth it to feel safe 🙂
  2. Ask to see the medicine they fill your syringe with.  For Yellow Fever it should say something like “Febre Amarela”.  While we were there they tried to give us a pill we understood to be for Polio, but we declined it since we’re both already covered, however if this happens to you be prepared for them to act like you’re crazy for declining.

After the shot you take back your passport along with a slip of paper from the person at the desk, which is your evidence you got the vaccine. These you then take to a second room to get your official “yellow book” vaccine card. This room is located back at the front of the main building, just to the left of the lobby area. The door will read “Certificado International de Vacina de Febre Amarela”…and if your like us it was also say “Volte daqui a pouco” translation “back in a while” and you get to wait 45 min 🙁 When it’s your turn here you hand over your two documents and they either print or write out your certificate. Warning: Double check your certificate before you leave, our lady messed up 4 times with our names and nationalities before she abandoned the computer and hand wrote them with us helping…which she then forgot to stamp so check for that too! 


Blackouts show name, birthdate, passport # and signature…sorry I don’t wanna share THAT much :)

And that’s it! You saved $150 (compared to the US) to spend on Acai, or better yet Caipirinha’s 🙂

Tip: If the Gávea location is far from you, I’d suggest trying the Copacabana location. Since it’s a touristy they’re probably your best bet for finding an English speaker, but possibly also a longer wait. If we weren’t accompanied by a local, or didn’t have this amazballs post to guide us, we probably would have tried there.

Not needing Yellow Fever in Brazil? How about Japanese encephalitis in Bangkok? If so check out Getting shot in Bangkok by

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