Varicella Vaccine

The varicella vaccine is used for reducing the risk of chickenpox. It is given as two separate doses, at least one to three months apart (depending on the age of the individual). The vaccine works by "tricking" the body into thinking it has been exposed to chickenpox; the body produces antibodies that will help fight the virus if future exposure occurs.

What Is the Varicella Vaccine?

The varicella vaccine (Varivax®) is a product approved to prevent chickenpox.
 
(Click What Is the Varicella Vaccine Used For? for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Potential Side Effects

As with any vaccine, the varicella vaccine may cause side effects. However, not everyone who receives the vaccine will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it well, with only minor side effects (if any).
 
If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
 
Some of the most common side effects include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Injection site reactions, such as pain or redness
  • Fever
  • Chickenpox-like rash.
     
(Click Side Effects of the Varicella Vaccine to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD; Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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