Preferences and Decision Needs of Boston-Area Travelers to Countries With Risk of Yellow Fever Virus Transmission: Implications for Health Care Providers

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Yellow fever (YF), a potentially fatal mosquito-borne infection, is preventable with a live-attenuated vaccine, rarely associated with severe adverse events. We surveyed travelers to assess their reasons for pre-travel medical consultation, information they considered important regarding YF disease and vaccination, whether they recalled receiving this information, and whether they were involved in vaccine decision-making.


Travelers aged 18 years and older were surveyed at three Boston-area travel clinics. Only those making YF vaccination decisions were included for analyses.


Of 831 travelers surveyed, 589 (70%) indicated making a YF vaccination decision. Travel medicine providers recommended YF vaccination to 537 (91%) of 589 travelers; 92% of these 537 received vaccine. Among 101 travelers aged 60 years and older, 9% declined the vaccine; among those younger than 60 years, 4% declined the vaccine (p = 0.06). Of 589 travelers, most agreed they needed to understand destination-specific YF risks (82%) and vaccine risks (88%), and were involved in YF vaccine decisions (87%). Less than half recalled discussing their concerns about YF vaccine with the provider (42%) or what risks and benefits mattered most to them (32%).


Most participants sought YF disease and vaccine risk information and wanted to be involved in decision-making; however, fewer than half recalled discussing their opinions or concerns about YF vaccine. Providers need effective risk communication skills and the ability to elicit and respond to travelers' concerns to help them make informed, shared decisions.

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