Chicken Pox (Varicella) Vaccine

Chicken pox vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Most doctors recommend it for almost all young children. But there are some cautions. Tell your doctor or nurse if the person getting the vaccine:

  • Ever had a serious allergic reaction to chicken pox vaccine, neomycin or gelatin
  • Now has moderate or severe illness
  • Is pregnant
  • Is unable to fight serious infections because of a disease (like HIV/AIDS), treatment with drugs such as long-term steroids, any kind of cancer or cancer treatment with X-rays or drugs
  • Has gotten a blood product (such as immune globulin or a transfusion) during the past several months. If you are not sure, ask your doctor or nurse.

What Are the Risks from Chicken Pox Vaccine?

As with any medicine, there are very small risks that serious problems, even death, could occur after getting chicken pox vaccine. However, almost all people who use the vaccine have no problems. It has not been shown to cause any serious problems. The risks from the vaccine are smaller than the risks from the disease.

Mild Problems

  • Soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given (about one out of five doses)
  • Very mild rash or several small bumps (three to four out of 100 doses) (Note: It may be possible for someone who gets a rash from chicken pox vaccine to give chicken pox to another person. If the person getting the vaccine is in close contact with anyone whose immune system is not working properly, tell your doctor or nurse.)
  • Fever of 102 degrees F (15 out of 100 doses) (Note: Do not use aspirin to reduce fever in children. Ask your doctor or nurse about medicines to control fever.)
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