Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
VZIG is made from blood and contains antibodies to the varicella zoster virus. This virus causes chickenpox and shingles. VZIG provides fast protection but is not long lasting.
For long lasting protection, immunization with chickenpox (varicella) vaccine is needed. At 50 years of age or older, Herpes Zoster (shingles) vaccine can be given to boost protection against shingles, but it is not free. Check with your health insurance provider as some plans may cover the cost.
VZIG is given after contact with the varicella zoster virus to unprotected people who are at risk for serious illness (weak immune system, pregnant woman, premature baby whose mother is not protected, newborn baby whose mother gets chickenpox within a few days of birth).
People need one dose of VZIG as soon as possible after contact with the virus. The size of the dose depends on the person’s body weight.
VZIG helps prevent chickenpox disease or helps prevent serious illness in those who do get the disease.
VZIG is one of the safest blood products available. Canadian Blood Services carefully screens donors and tests all blood collected. The blood of donors is not used if the donor has known risk factors or tests positive for an infectious diseases. VZIG is treated with heat and chemicals to kill germs that might be present. The risk of getting an infection from VZIG is very small.
Call Health Link at 811 if you have been in contact with chickenpox or shingles and you:
If VZIG is needed, it will be given at your local public health office or hospital.
Reactions to VZIG are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:
Hives and general swelling may occur.
It is important to stay for 15 minutes after VZIG is given because people can have a rare but serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). If anaphylaxis happens, you will be given medicine to treat the symptoms.
Unusual reactions can happen. Call Health Link at 811 to report any unusual reactions.
Talk to your healthcare provider before having VZIG if you:
Current as of: December 11, 2018
Author: Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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