The chickenpox vaccine protects against chickenpox. This is a disease that causes a rash, blisters, and fever. Chickenpox is also called varicella.
Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The virus is very common and spreads very easily.
The chickenpox vaccine is called VAR for short. It is made from weakened chickenpox virus. After getting the vaccine, the body learns to attack the chickenpox virus if the person is exposed to it. As a result, it is unlikely the person will get sick with chickenpox.
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
VAR is one of the vaccines recommended for children. All states require proof that a child has received the vaccine before starting daycare, preschool, or kindergarten.
VAR is given to children as a series of two doses (shots). One dose is given at each of the following ages:
Persons 13 or Older
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS VACCINE
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Most persons who get VAR have no problems from it. In other cases:
There is no proof that VAR is linked to the development of autism.
No vaccine works all of the time. It is still possible, though unlikely, to get chickenpox even after receiving all doses (shots) of VAR.
CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:
Immunization - chickenpox; Vaccine - VAR;Immunization - VAR; Varicella zoster vaccine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years and Adults Aged 19 Years and Older - United States, 2013. MMWR. 2013;62(Suppl1):1-19.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine safety and adverse events. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/safety/default.htm. Accessed April 19, 2013.
DeStefano F, Price CS, Weintraub ES. Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism. J Pediatr. 2013; DOI10.1016/j.peds.2013.02.001.
Institute of Medicine. Immunization Safety Review Committee. Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.
Orenstein WA, Atkinson WL. Immunization. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 17.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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