Chickenpox is a very common illness caused by the varicella zoster virus. Most people catch it during their childhood. If you haven’t had chickenpox as a child, you can still get it as an adult.
Although it’s not usually dangerous, chickenpox can be very unpleasant as it causes an itchy rash and a fever. In most cases, the symptoms clear within a week.
The virus can be dangerous for patients with an impaired immune system, new-born babies and pregnant women. Once you have had chickenpox, you’re usually immune for life but you could develop shingles at a later point in life.
The chickenpox vaccine offers effective protection for those who haven’t had chickenpox before.
This is a live vaccine and contains a small amount of weakened chickenpox-causing virus.
The vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies that will help protect against chickenpox.
This is given as two separate injections given 4 – 8 weeks apart. Once you have completed the two-dose course, you won’t need further boosters. This vaccine is usually injected intramuscularly in the deltoid (upper arm muscle). But we may prefer to inject in the thigh for infants.
The chickenpox vaccine is suitable for patients from the age of one up to the age of 65. It is only recommended if you have not had chickenpox. The chickenpox vaccine is not currently part of the national vaccine schedule in the UK.
This vaccine is normally available at £65 per dose.
More information about the chickenpox vaccine can be found here