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Varicella Vaccine

Drug Interactions

The varicella vaccine can potentially interact with a few medications (see Drug Interactions With the Varicella Vaccine).
 

How Does Varicella Vaccine Work?

Simply stated, the varicella vaccine "tricks" the body into thinking it has been exposed to chickenpox. The body produces antibodies that will help fight the virus if future exposure occurs.
 
This vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine. This means that it contains the living virus which has been altered in such a way as to prevent it from actually causing disease. However, the body's immune system still responds to it, providing future protection from the disease.
 
In general, live vaccines provide better protection from infections (compared to other types of vaccines) but can, in rare cases, actually cause the disease, particularly in people who have very weakened immune systems.
 

When and How to Get Vaccinated

Some general considerations include the following:
 
  • This vaccine is given as two separate doses, given at least one to three months apart (depending on the age of the individual).
     
  • The varicella vaccine is given subcutaneously (just under the skin) on the upper arm.
     
  • Individuals can be vaccinated if they have a minor illness, such as the common cold. However, the vaccine should be postponed if the individual is moderately or severely ill.
     

Varicella Vaccine Dosing

There is only one standard recommended dosage for this vaccine, although the exact vaccine "schedule" varies, depending on the age of the individual at the first dose.
 
(Click Varicella Vaccine Dosage for more information.)
 
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

Varicella Vaccine Information

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