Varicella

What is the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine?
The varicella vaccine protects against the varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox.

What are the benefits of this vaccine?
The varicella vaccine is the best way to protect you and your child against chickenpox and its complications.

Who should get this vaccine?
The varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is given to children between 12 and 18 months of age or between 4 and 6 years of age.

What are the common reactions after the vaccine?
Common reactions to the vaccine may include soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given. A mild fever and a rash, which looks like chickenpox but with fewer spots, can occur about 2 weeks after the vaccine.

Very rarely, a person who develops a rash after being immunized can spread the virus from the chickenpox vaccine. To prevent spreading it to others, cover the rash until the blisters have dried and crusted over.

For more information on vaccine safety and possible side effects, visit Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide.

What is varicella (chickenpox)?
Chickenpox is a viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Complications from chickenpox include pneumonia (lung infection), encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and bacterial infections of the skin. Encephalitis can lead to seizures, deafness or brain damage.

What are the symptoms of varicella (chickenpox)?
Symptoms include a slight fever, headaches, a runny nose, fluid filled blisters and a general ill feeling.

How is it spread?
The disease is spread by direct contact with fluid in the lesions or through airborne spread from the respiratory tract of an infected person.