did the chickenpox vaccine become
The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine was
licensed for use in Japan and Korea in
1988 and in the United States in 1995.
In 2005, a combination vaccine
containing live attenuated
measles-mumps-rubella and varicella
(MMRV) vaccine was licensed for use in
persons age 12 months through age 12
kind of vaccine is it?
The chickenpox vaccine is a live
attenuated vaccine. This means the live,
disease-producing virus was modified, or
weakened, in the laboratory to produce
an organism that can grow and produce
immunity in the body without causing
this vaccine administered?
The chickenpox vaccine is a shot, given
in the fatty tissue.
should get this vaccine?
Chickenpox vaccine is recommended for
children younger than age 13 years
(one dose at 12-15 months and a
second dose at age 4-6 years);
Everyone age 13 years and older who
has never had chickenpox (two doses,
given 4-8 weeks apart);
missing a dose at the recommended times
should get the shot at their next visit
to their doctor or clinic.
recommends this vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), the American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American
Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) have
all recommended that children receive
adults be tested before vaccination to
see if they are already immune to
Currently, 90% of adults are immune to
chickenpox because of having had the
disease as children. If you have a
history of chickenpox disease, you don't
need testing or vaccination, unless you
are working in an environment where your
immune status must be documented (such
as a hospital). If you are uncertain of
your medical history, blood testing can
be done to see if immunization is
safe is this vaccine?
Tens of millions of doses of varicella
vaccine have been given in the United
States, and studies continue to show
that the vaccine is safe. Serious side
effects are very rare.
side effects have been reported with
Possible side effects are generally mild
and include redness, stiffness, and
soreness at the injection site; such
localized reactions occur in about 20%
of children immunized. A small
percentage of persons develop a mild
rash, usually around the spot where the
shot was given.
effective is this vaccine?
Ninety-seven percent of children between
age 12 months and 12 years develop
immunity to the disease after one dose
of vaccine. For older children and
adults, an average of 78% develop
immunity after one dose and 99% develop
immunity after the recommended two
some vaccinated children (about 2%) will
still get chickenpox, they generally
will have a much milder form of the
disease, with fewer blisters (typically
fewer than 50), lower fever, and a more
vaccine almost always prevents against
severe disease. Getting chickenpox
vaccine is much safer than getting
it better for a child to get chickenpox
Some parents purposely seek to get their
children infected with varicella virus,
even promoting "chickenpox parties" for
this purpose. The belief is that it's
better to be infected when young, a time
when the infection is ordinarily less
severe. Some parents also believe that
something "natural" (the disease) is
better than something "artificial" (the
vaccine), or that immunity derived from
the disease will be more permanent than
that from the vaccine.
when a safe vaccine is available,
parents need to weigh the supposed
benefits of infection against its
potential risks, including severe
disease with complications such as
infection with flesh-eating bacteria. No
one can predict which child will develop
a life-threatening case of chickenpox;
in fact, most serious cases occur in
previously healthy children.
addition, in a recent study, 7 out of 10
children said given the choice, they'd
rather have the shot than have the
the vaccine protect you if you've
already been exposed to chickenpox?
Yes, it is 70-100% effective if given
within 72 hours of exposure.
should NOT receive the chickenpox
Persons with weakened immune systems and
those with life-threatening allergies to
gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin
should not receive this vaccine.
women should not receive this vaccine,
as the possible effects on fetal
development are unknown. However,
non-pregnant women of childbearing age
who have never had the disease may be
immunized against chickenpox to avoid
contracting the disease while pregnant.
the vaccine cause chickenpox?
Because this vaccine is made from a
live, but weakened, virus, about 1% of
recipients develop a mild form of the
disease, consisting of a limited rash,
most often with only 5-6 blisters.
Usually there is no fever. These persons
are then safe from the more serious,
naturally occurring form of the virus.
the varicella vaccine virus be
transmitted (caught) from a person who
Yes; however, transmission of the
varicella vaccine virus is extremely
rare. It has only been documented in
healthy persons on three occasions out
of the 21 million doses of vaccine
distributed. All three cases resulted in
mild disease without complications.
the vaccine cause herpes zoster
Yes, this is possible. The risk of
zoster following vaccination appears to
be less than that following infection
with the varicella virus. The majority
of cases of shingles following vaccine
have been mild and have not been
associated with serious complications