Chickenpox Home > Chickenpox Prevention

The chickenpox vaccine, also known as the varicella vaccine, is used to prevent chickenpox. As with any other vaccine, it is not 100 percent effective at preventing the disease; however, vaccinated people who develop chickenpox usually develop a milder case than unvaccinated people.

Can You Prevent Chickenpox?

Chickenpox can now be prevented by the chickenpox vaccine (also known as the varicella vaccine).
 

Who Should Get the Vaccine?

For chickenpox prevention, the vaccine should be used in the following groups of people:
 
  • All children between 12 and 18 months of age should have one dose of chickenpox vaccine.
     
  • Children who have had chickenpox do not need the vaccine. No tests need to be administered to determine immune status -- a parent's recollection of the disease is considered a reliable measure of previous infection and therefore immunity.
     
  • Children between 19 months and 13 years old, who have not had chickenpox, should be vaccinated with a single dose.
     
  • People 13 and older who have not had chickenpox should get two doses of the vaccine 4 to 8 weeks apart.
     
The chickenpox vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
 

How Effective Is It?

No vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing disease. For the chickenpox vaccine, about 8 to 9 out of every 10 people who are vaccinated are completely protected from chickenpox. The vaccine almost always prevents against severe disease. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually a very mild case with fewer skin lesions (usually less than 50) lasting only a few days, no fever or a low fever, and few other symptoms.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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