Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
This vaccine is given to children starting at 12 months of age.
It is given to infants 6 to 11 months of age who have certain health conditions.
Children who were born on or after August 1, 2012, may need this vaccine even if they have had chickenpox.
Anyone born before August 1, 2012, should have this vaccine if they have not had chickenpox. Adults need a blood test to check if they need the vaccine. It will show whether or not they are protected.
People need 2 doses of VZ vaccine. The first is usually given at 12 months and the second at 4 years of age. These doses are usually given using the MMR-Var vaccine, which is a combined vaccine that protects against chicken pox and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Doses given before 12 months of age do not count.
The second dose of VZ vaccine at 4 years of age was added to the routine immunization schedule in 2012 for those born on or after August 1, 2005. Children who did not receive this second dose can have the vaccine for free. Older children may benefit from a second dose— check with a public health nurse to find out if it is free for your child.
VZ vaccine is about 94% effective after 1 dose and about 98% effective after 2 doses.
VZ vaccine is offered to students in grades 1 to 9 who have not had chickenpox or the recommended doses of VZ vaccine. Information about the disease and the vaccine will be sent home to the parent or guardian. If you want your child to get the vaccine, you must fill out the consent form and return it to the school.
If you are an older teen or an adult whose blood test shows you are not protected, you can have the vaccine for free at a
public health office in your area.
If you or your child do not qualify for a free second dose, you need to pay for it. Contact a travel health clinic (e.g.,
AHS Travel Health Services) or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Reactions to the vaccine are usually mild and go away in a few days. Reactions may happen up to 6 weeks after immunization. They may include:
It is important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after immunization 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.
You may not be able to have the vaccine if you:
You can be immunized if you have a mild illness (e.g., cold), even if you have a fever.
You need to wait 1 month after this vaccine before trying to get pregnant.
What it is
Who is most at risk
How it spreads
Current as of: July 16, 2019
Author: Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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