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Side Effects of the Varicella Vaccine

Pain or redness at the injection site, fever, and a chickenpox-like rash are some of the most commonly reported side effects of the varicella vaccine. In most cases, side effects of this vaccine are minor and do not require treatment. However, certain side effects are potentially serious and require medical attention, including seizures, weakness, and unusual bruising.

An Introduction to Varicella Vaccine Side Effects

As with all vaccines, side effects are possible with the varicella vaccine (Varivax®). However, not everyone who receives the vaccine will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. 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.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with the varicella vaccine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of varicella vaccine side effects with you.)

Serious Side Effects Seen With the Varicella Vaccine

There are a number of rare but serious side effects with the varicella vaccine that you should report to your healthcare provider. These include, but are not limited to:
  • A high fever
  • Any unusual behavior changes in a child (aside from the usual fussiness that typically occurs after vaccinations)
  • A seizure (usually related to a high fever)
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding (which may be a sign of low blood platelets)
  • Weakness, tingling, or paralysis (which may be signs of Guillain-Barré syndrome)
  • Pneumonia
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:


    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling of the mouth or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing.


Generally, these serious problems are so rare that it is impossible to know if they are actually related to the vaccine.
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Varicella Vaccine Information

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