Chicken pox vaccine is currently unavailable due to a national shortage.
The chickenpox vaccine gives about 98% protection in children and about 75% protection in teenagers and adults against chickenpox infection. For those who are vaccinated but still get chickenpox, the symptoms will generally be milder.
Vaccination policies vary worldwide, chickenpox vaccine is not part of the UK routine immunisation programme, but it is in Germany, Australia, Canada & USA.
If you have not had chickenpox and are exposed to someone with this disease or shingles, the chickenpox vaccine can be given up to 5 days (ideally within 3 days) after exposure to prevent the disease or making it less serious. This can also protect you from chickenpox if you are exposed again in the future.
Why not let my child get chickenpox naturally and build natural immunity?
1) Chickenpox can be a mild disease, but it isn’t always. There’s no way to know who will have a mild case and who will become very sick. When your child gets his or her chickenpox vaccine, he or she is getting immunity from chickenpox without the risk of serious complications of the disease.
2) Prevents your child from feeling itchy and uncomfortable from chickenpox
3) Keeps your child from missing school or childcare (and keeps you from missing work to care for your sick child).
Dosage and schedules
This vaccine can be given to both adults and children 1 year and over. Two doses are required to be given at east four weeks apart.
Chickenpox vaccine may be given at the same time or at any time before or after other vaccines. However, if chickenpox and MMR vaccines are not administered on the same day, then a four week minimum interval period should be observed.
Is the chickenpox shot safe?
Yes, chickenpox vaccine is well tolerated. Extensive data shows the most commonly reported reactions are at the injection site (pain, redness and rash). Generalised symptoms, such as fever and rash, can also occur but less frequently.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
Women who are pregnant should not receive the chickenpox vaccine and pregnancy should be avoided for one month following the last dose.
Studies have shown that the vaccine virus is not transferred to the infant through breast milk and therefore breast-feeding women can be vaccinated if indicated.
Availability of chickenpox vaccine on NHS
The chickenpox vaccine is currently only offered on the NHS to people who are in close contact with someone who is particularly vulnerable to chickenpox or its complications.
Can chickenpox vaccine be given at the same time as Men B vaccine?
Yes, they can be given at the same time or at any time before or after each other.
References and futher information:
- Chickenpox vaccine’s package leaflet: Information for the user
- USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccination
- Oxford Vaccine Group: Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine
Any child requiring a second dose will have priority when the vaccine is available.
We will update when we have an estimated date for supplies.