Why get vaccinated?
Varicella (also called chickenpox) is a very contagious viral disease. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus. Chickenpox is usually mild, but it can be serious in infants under 12 months of age, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Chickenpox causes an itchy rash that usually lasts about a week. It can also cause:
• Loss of appetite
More serious complications can include:
• Skin infections
• Infection of the lungs (pneumonia)
• Inflammation of blood vessels
• Swelling of the brain and/or spinal cord coverings (encephalitis or meningitis)
• Blood stream, bone, or joint infections
Some people get so sick that they need to be hospitalized.It doesn’t happen often, but people can die from chickenpox. Some people who get chickenpox get a painful rash called shingles(also known as herpes zoster) years later. Chickenpox can spread easily from an infected person to anyone who has not had chickenpox and has not gotten chickenpox vaccine.
2 doses: First dose at 12-18 months old, second dose at 4 years old.
Catch up vaccination:For 12 years old and below, 2 doses with 12 weeks interval, for 13 years old and above, 2 doses with 4 to 8 weeks interval. There are no known risks to getting chickenpox vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.
Some people should not get this vaccine
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
• Has any severe, life-threatening allergies. A person who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of chickenpox vaccine, or has a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, may be advised not to be vaccinated. Ask your health care provider if you want information about vaccine components
• Is pregnant, or thinks she might be pregnant. Pregnant women should wait to get chickenpox vaccine until after they are no longer pregnant. Women should avoid getting pregnant for at least 3 months after getting chickenpox vaccine
• Has a weakened immune system due to disease (such as cancer or HIV/AIDS) or medical treatments (such as radiation, immunotherapy, steroids, or chemotherapy)
• Has a parent, brother, or sister with a history of immune system problems
• Is taking salicylates (such as aspirin). People should avoid using salicylates for 6 weeks after getting varicella vaccine
• Has recently had a blood transfusion or received other blood products. You might be advised to postpone chickenpox vaccination for 3 months or more
• Has tuberculosis
• Has gotten any other vaccines in the past 4 weeks. Live vaccines given too close together might not work as well
• Is not feeling well. A mild illness, such as a cold, is usually not a reason to postpone a vaccination. Someone who is moderately or severely ill should probably wait. Your doctor can advise you
Risk of a vaccine reaction
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of reactions. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible.
After vaccination, please stay in clinic observation area for 30 minutes.
Getting chickenpox vaccine is much safer than getting chickenpox disease. Most people who get chickenpox vaccine do not have any problems with it. After chickenpox vaccination, a person might experience:
• Sore arm from the injection
• Redness or rash at the injection site
If these events happen, they usually begin within 2 weeks after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.
More serious events following chickenpox vaccination are rare. They can include
• Seizure (jerking or staring) often associated with fever
• Infection of the lungs (pneumonia) or the brain and spinal cord coverings (meningitis)
• Rash all over the body
A person who develops a rash after chickenpox vaccination might be able to spread the varicella vaccine virus to an unprotected person. Even though this happens very rarely, anyone who gets a rash should stay away from people with weakened immune systems and unvaccinated infants until the rash goes away. Talk with your health care provider to learn more.
Other things that could happen after this vaccine
• People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears
• Some people get shoulder pain that can be more severe and longer-lasting than routine soreness that can follow injections. This happens very rarely
• Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions to a vaccine are estimated at about 1 in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
What if there is a serious reaction?
What should I look for?
Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
What should I do?
If you think it is a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that can't wait, call 120 or get the person to the nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
• Jiahui Health
Contact number: 400-868-3000
• Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control & Prevention
Contact number: 021-62758710
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Information Statement: Varicella Vaccine,02/12/2018