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IMPORTANTTo read the national and local advice about coronavirus
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Vaccines
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Chickenpox Vaccine
What we have to say about your health and well being

What is chickenpox?

Chicken Pox is a highly contagious disease caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, and enters through your respiratory tract and conjunctiva.

How do you get chickenpox?

When exposed to an infected person, 9 out of 10 people will catch chickenpox. You can get it:

  • When an infected person sneezes or coughs
  • Through close contact with open blisters

People are most infectious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until all blisters have formed scabs.

Who is at risk from Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a common childhood infection that is usually mild and complications rare. Almost all children develop lifelong immunity after infection, so most only get it once. The disease can have a more serious impact for certain people:

  • Babies < 1 year
  • Adults & adolescents > 15 years
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with a weakened immune system

What is the impact of Chickenpox?

There are estimated to be 670,000 cases of chickenpox every year, which is equivalent of one case every minute. It is generally a mild illness, but in some instances it can be associated with serious complications:

  • Bacterial superinfections & severe scarring
  • Pneumonia & bronchitis
  • Ear infections
  • Neurological disorders

Occasionally, chickenpox can be fatal, with the majority of deaths occurring in previously healthy individuals.

What is the chickenpox vaccine?

The chickenpox vaccine has been shown to provide immunity in 9 out of 10 children vaccinated. The vaccine is less effective after childhood, with an estimated three-quarters of adults & adolescents immune after vaccination.

Can I get the chickenpox vaccine via the NHS?

Unfortunately, the chickenpox vaccine is not part of the childhood immunization schedule, and is currently only given to people who are in close contact with someone that is particularly vulnerable to chickenpox.

Why not let my child get chickenpox naturally?

Chickenpox is a generally mild disease, but there is no way to know who will have a mild case or who will develop serious complications. The vaccine will provide immunity without the risk of serious complicationsof the disease. It will also prevent your child missing school, as chickenpox on average results in 6.6 days off school/childcare.

Vaccine schedule

Vaccine Schedule Age range
Chickenpox 2 doses, given 3 months apart Individuals from 9 to 12 months
Chickenpox 2 doses, given 1 month apart Individuals from 12 months to 12 years
Chickenpox 2 doses, given 4-8 weeks apart Individuals from 13 years and older
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