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Chickenpox vaccine - Chickenpox

The chickenpox vaccine protects against the varicella zoster virus. This causes chickenpox. It's also called the varicella vaccine.

It’s not part of routine childhood vaccination.

You can pay to get the vaccine from your GP. It can be given to anyone over 12 months old.

Consider getting the vaccine if you have not had chickenpox before and you’re:

  • a healthcare worker
  • in close contact with someone who has a weak immune system, for example, a child could have the vaccine if their parent is having chemotherapy

When you should not have the chickenpox vaccine

You should not have the chickenpox vaccine if you:

  • have a weak immune system
  • are pregnant
  • are seriously unwell – delay having the vaccination until you recover
  • have had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, or to any of its ingredients (ask your GP if you're unsure)

If you have the vaccine, try to avoid becoming pregnant within 1 month.

Number of doses

Two doses of the vaccine are needed, at least 4 weeks apart.

Chickenpox vaccine side effects

Side effects of the vaccine may include:

  • pain, redness or swelling in the arm or leg
  • fever
  • rash

Page last reviewed: 4 November 2021
Next review due: 4 November 2024

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.