Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
1. Why get vaccinated?
Chickenpox (also called varicella) is a common childhood disease. It is usually mild, but it can be serious, especially in young infants and adults.
- The chickenpox virus can be spread from person to person through the air, or by contact with fluid from chickenpox blisters.
- It causes a rash, itching, fever, and tiredness.
- It can lead to severe skin infection, scars, pneumonia, brain damage, or death.
- A person who has had chickenpox can get a painful rash called shingles years later.
- About 12,000 people are hospitalized for chickenpox each year in the United States.
- About 100 people die each year in the United States as a result of chickenpox.
Chickenpox vaccine can prevent chickenpox.
Most people who get chickenpox vaccine will not get chickenpox. But if someone who has been vaccinated does get chickenpox, it is usually very mild. They will have fewer spots, are less likely to have a fever, and will recover faster.
2. Who should get chickenpox vaccine and when?
Children should get one dose of chickenpox vaccine between 12 and 18 months of age, or at any age after that if they have never had chickenpox.
People who do not get the vaccine until 13 years of age or older should get two doses, four to eight weeks apart.
Ask your doctor or nurse for details.
Chickenpox vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.