Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
The VZ vaccine protects against chickenpox (varicella).
The following people should get the VZ vaccine:
Children born on or after August 1, 2005, need 2 doses of the VZ vaccine. As of January 1, 2021, children get their first dose at age 12 months and the second dose at age 18 months.
If your child didn’t get the VZ vaccine at age 18 months, they’ll get it at age 4 years. Any doses a child gets before age 12 months don’t count as part of the 2 doses they need to protect them against chickenpox.
If you are born before August 1, 2005, you need 1 or 2 doses of the VZ vaccine. This depends on when you got your first dose. Ask a public health nurse to find out how many doses you or your child needs.
If you or your child want a second dose and can't get it for free, you will need to pay for it. Contact a travel health clinic or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
There is an MMR-Var vaccine that protect against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and chickenpox (Var). Most babies and children get this vaccine as it protects them against chickenpox and these other diseases.
The protection is about 94% after 1 dose and about 98% after 2 doses.
You can get the vaccine at a public health office in your area.
There can be side effects from the VZ vaccine. They tend to be mild and go away in a few days, but side effects can happen up to 6 weeks after having this vaccine. They may include:
It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.
It’s rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
You may not be able to get this vaccine if you:
You can still get the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you have had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, wait 1 month after having this vaccine before you start trying to get pregnant.
Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.
What is chickenpox? Chickenpox is a virus that causes fever and an itchy rash that looks like small, water-filled blisters. It’s usually mild, but up to 1 in 10 people who get chickenpox can have:
After you get chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It can become active again and cause shingles (a painful skin rash).
The VZ vaccine protects against chickenpox. It also helps lower your risk of developing shingles.
Who’s most at risk? People with the highest risk of serious infections from chickenpox are:
If you’re pregnant and get chickenpox, there’s a small risk of having a miscarriage or having a baby born with
How it spreads? Chickenpox spreads easily through the air by coughing, sneezing or touching open blisters. You can spread chickenpox before you get the rash.
Go to the
chickenpox (varicella) page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more.
Current as of: September 1, 2021
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.