How Does Varivax Work?
Simply stated, Varivax "tricks" the body into thinking it has been exposed to chickenpox. The body produces antibodies that will help fight the virus if future exposure occurs.
This vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine. This means that it contains the living virus which has been altered in such a way as to prevent it from actually causing disease. However, the body's immune system still responds to it, providing future protection from the disease.
In general, live vaccines provide better protection from infections (compared to other types of vaccines) but can, in rare cases, actually cause the disease, particularly in people who have very weakened immune systems.
Off-Label Uses for Varivax
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Varivax for something other than the uses discussed in this article. This would be known as an "off-label" use. At this time, using Varivax to prevent chickenpox (or reduce the severity) in people who have recently been exposed to chickenpox (within the past three to five days) is an off-label use.