The varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox. Before
the vaccine was developed, chickenpox was a common childhood disease.
Chickenpox symptoms include fever and an itchy rash. In rare
cases, more serious infections can occur.
There is still a slight chance of developing chickenpox after
vaccination. However, these cases of chickenpox are usually very mild.
If your child hasn’t had chickenpox, they should get two
doses of the vaccine. The first is given between 12 and 15 months of age. The
second is given between 4 and 6 years old.
Anyone over 13 who has not had chickenpox should also be
vaccinated. They should receive two doses of the vaccine. These should be given
at least 28 days apart.
There is also a vaccine that combines the MMR (measles,
mumps, rubella) vaccine with varicella. It’s called the MMRV. This vaccine
causes more side effects than separate vaccinations. However, it requires fewer
shots. It can be used in children under 12.
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?
There are several groups of people who should not get the
chickenpox vaccine. These include anyone who:
had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine
allergic to gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin
- is currently moderately to
People with compromised immune systems should discuss the
risks of vaccination with their doctor. You may also need to wait for
vaccination after a blood transfusion.
Potential Side Effects
Serious reactions caused by the chickenpox vaccine are very
rare. However, if you have any unusual symptoms after the vaccine, talk to a
Mild to moderate symptoms are more common. These include:
or swelling where the shot was given
caused by fever (very rare)