There is marked variability in vaccine efficacy among global populations. In particular, individuals in low- to middle-income countries have been shown to be less responsive to vaccines than those from developed nations. Several factors, including endemic infections, nutrition, genetics, and gut microbiome composition, have been proposed to underlie discrepancies in vaccine response. In this issue of theJCI, Kityo et al. evaluated response to yellow fever virus vaccine, inflammation, and lymphatic tissue architecture and fibrosis in three cohorts: two from the U.S. and one from Uganda. Compared with the U.S. subjects, the Ugandan cohort exhibited enhanced cytokine responses, increased lymph node fibrosis, reduced CD4+ T cell levels, and reduced vaccine response. Together, these results provide a link among chronic inflammation, damaged lymphoid architecture, and poor vaccine outcome, and set the stage for future studies to identify strategies to overcome these barriers.