The Chickenpox vaccine has been used routinely in the childhood immunisation programme in the United States since 1995 and is safe and effective prevention against Chickenpox infection. Many other countries also routinely provide the vaccination in their immunisation schedules.
The vaccine is live, containing weakened virus. Two doses of the vaccine provides 98% protection in children. If breakthrough infection does occur, it is much milder and of a shorter duration than in those who have never been vaccinated.
Who CAN have the VZV vaccine?
The vaccine can be given to anyone over 12 months of age, but especially:
to prevent Chickenpox in those who have never had it.
to prevent healthy susceptible contacts of immunocompromised patients from transmitting natural infection to them. For example, siblings of a leukaemic child, or a child whose parent is undergoing chemotherapy.
Who SHOULD NOT have the vaccine?
Anyone who is immunocompromised. Eg leukaemia, lymphoma, or due to drugs such as oral steroids, cancer therapies, immunosuppressant medications like Methotrexate, Azathioprine and Cyclosporin.
If unwell in the preceding week. Eg temp >38C
If there is a previous history of severe allergic reaction to Chickenpox vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine