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Chickenpox Vaccine For Children


The chickenpox vaccine

is an injection given to your child to protect him from chickenpox. Chickenpox is a common childhood infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The virus causes fever and an itchy rash that spreads over the entire body. The rashes turn into small blisters that dry up to form scabs. The infection may spread and damage your child's skin, lungs, and brain. The chickenpox vaccine may be given by itself or combined with other vaccines.

Who should get the chickenpox vaccine:

Your child should receive 2 chickenpox vaccinations. The first dose is given at 12 to 15 months. The second dose is given at 4 to 6 years. The second dose may be given before a child is 4 years old if at least 3 months have passed since the first dose. There must be at least 3 months between doses for children aged 7 to 12 years. There must be at least 4 weeks between doses for children 13 years or older.


Who should not get the chickenpox vaccine:

Your child should not get the chickenpox vaccine if he has had an allergic reaction to neomycin, gelatin, or a previous chickenpox vaccine.

Who should wait to get the chickenpox vaccine:

  • Any child who is sick or has a fever should wait until he feels better to get the vaccine.
  • Any child who takes antiviral medicine should stop the medicine and wait at least 1 day before getting the chickenpox vaccine. Examples of antiviral medicines include acyclovir and valacyclovir.
  • Any child who gets a smallpox vaccine should wait at least 4 weeks before getting the chickenpox vaccine.
  • Ask your child's healthcare provider if he should get the chickenpox vaccine if:
    • Your child is being treated with medicines that weaken the immune system, such as steroids.
    • Your child has a disease that weakens the immune system, such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS.
    • Your child has received a blood transfusion in the past 3 to 11 months.
    • Your child has untreated, active tuberculosis (TB).

Risks of the chickenpox vaccine:

The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. Your child may still get chickenpox, even after he gets the vaccine. Your child may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child's mouth and throat are swollen.
  • Your child is wheezing or has trouble breathing.
  • Your child has chest pain or his heart is beating faster than usual.
  • Your child feels like he is going to faint.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child's face is red or swollen.
  • Your child has hives that spread over his body.
  • Your child feels weak or dizzy.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has increased pain, redness, or swelling around the area where the shot was given.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or the chickenpox vaccine.

Apply a warm compress

to your child's injection area as directed to decrease pain and swelling.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.