Chickenpox Vaccine: Why Your Child Needs It

Why Your Child Needs Chickenpox Vaccine

Do you have unpleasant memories of getting the chickenpox when you were young? You may remember having an uncomfortable rash, staying home from school for a week, and trying not to scratch the scabs. You may also remember it as a rite of passage, because all of your friends got it—It was just part of growing up. That’s because chickenpox is very contagious. One child can spread it to another from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs (usually 5-7 days). But, now, your children don’t have to suffer the way and your friends did because there’s a vaccine to protect them against chickenpox.

This is the fourth of five days of posts about the importance of childhood vaccinations,
and is part of Aunt Martha’s 2017 National Infant Immunization Week campaign.


Chickenpox can be Serious

chickenpox-can-be-seriousBefore the chickenpox vaccine became available in 1995, nearly 11,000 people were hospitalized every year and about 50 children died.

The disease can cause serious complications, even in healthy children. These complications include:

  • skin infections
  • lung infections (pneumonia)
  • swelling of the brain
  • bleeding problems
  • blood stream infections (sepsis), and
  • dehydration.

“The most important thing to remember is that we cannot predict which child will get a serious case or have complications from the chickenpox,” explained Dr. Stephanie Bialek at the CDC. “The chickenpox vaccine is very safe, and about 90% of kids who get both recommended doses of the chickenpox vaccine are protected against the disease. Therefore, we recommend that children get vaccinated.”

Chickenpox Vaccine: Your Best Protection

chickenpox-vaccine-your-best-protectionChickenpox vaccine is the best way to protect your family from chickenpox.

CDC recommends:

  • Children get the first dose of chickenpox vaccine at 12 through 15 months old and the second dose at age 4 through 6 years.
  • People 13 years of age and older who never had chickenpox or been vaccinated should get two doses of chickenpox vaccine at least 28 days apart.

If you have questions about the childhood immunization schedule, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse.

Chickenpox vaccine is safer than getting Chickenpox

Two doses of chickenpox vaccine are very effective at preventing disease, including severe disease, complications, and death. Although rare, you can get chickenpox if you have been vaccinated. However, the symptoms are usually very mild, meaning fewer blisters, little or no fever, and quicker recovery .

Also, when you get vaccinated, you protect others in your community. This is especially important for people who cannot get vaccinated. People who cannot get the chickenpox vaccine include pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.