Alberta Health Services
The varicella vaccine protects against varicella (chickenpox). It also helps lower your risk of developing shingles.
The following people can get the varicella vaccine:
If you have had a stem cell transplant or have had CAR T-cell therapy (a type of cancer treatment), you may need to get this vaccine even if you have already had varicella or varicella vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if this vaccine is recommended for you.
You may not be able to get this vaccine if:
If you are planning to get pregnant, wait 1 month after having this vaccine before you start trying to get pregnant.
If you have allergies or have had a side effect from this vaccine in the past, check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.
Although you can get the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever, you should stay home until you are feeling better to prevent spreading you illness to others.
People born on or after August 1, 2005, need 2 doses of a varicella 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 did not get the varicella vaccine at age 18 months, they will get it at age 4 years. Any doses a child gets before age 12 months do not count as part of the 2 doses they need to protect them against varicella.
If you were born before August 1, 2005, you need 1 or 2 doses of the varicella 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.
You may need an extra dose if you are going to have an organ transplant. Talk to your healthcare provider about how many doses you need.
The MMR-Var vaccine protects against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and varicella. Most babies and children get this vaccine as part of the routine immunization schedule. Learn more about Alberta’s routine immunization schedule.
You can get the vaccine at your local public health or community health centre.
If you are eligible for just 1 dose of varicella vaccine and you want a second dose of varicella vaccine, you will need to pay for it. Contact a travel health clinic or talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out.
The protection is about 93% after 1 dose and about 98% after 2 doses.
Vaccine safety is a top priority. Canada uses extremely safe vaccines. Learn more about vaccine safety in Canada, including how vaccines are monitored for continued safety, and ingredients in vaccines.
There can be side effects from the varicella 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:
At least 1 out of 100 people who got this vaccine reported 1 or more of these side effects. In some cases, it is unknown if the vaccine caused these side effects.
It is 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 is rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
There can be mild, short-term side effects after getting a vaccine. Find tips to manage these side effects at home.