Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
The VZ vaccine protects against chickenpox (varicella).
The following people should have VZ vaccine:
Children born on or after August 1, 2005, need 2 doses of VZ vaccine - the first at age 12 months and the second at age 4 years. Doses given before you’re age 12 months don’t count as part of the 2 doses.
Anyone born before August 1, 2005, need 1 or 2 doses of VZ vaccine depending on when they got their first dose. Ask a public health nurse to find out how many doses you or your child needs.
Doses of VZ are usually given to babies and children as part of the MMR-Var vaccine. This is a vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and chickenpox (Var) together.
The protection is about 94% after 1 dose and about 98% after 2 doses.
Students in Grades 1 to 9 who haven’t had chickenpox or the recommended doses can get the VZ vaccine in school. Parents and guardians will get information about chickenpox and the vaccine. If you want your child to get the vaccine in school, you must fill out the consent form and return it to the school.
Older teens or adults who aren’t protected can have the VZ vaccine for free at a public health office.
If you or your child want a second dose and you can’t get it for free, you need to pay for it. Contact a travel health clinic or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
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 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 have the vaccine if you:
Check with your doctor or a public health nuse before you get the vaccine.
You can still have 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, you need to wait 1 month after having this vaccine before you start trying to get pregnant.
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). VZ vaccine protects against chickenpox, but it doesn’t prevent all 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
miscarriage or the baby could be born with disabilities. If you get chickenpox a few days before or after you have your baby, the baby has a high risk of getting very sick or dying.
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: August 10, 2020
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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