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  • varicella virus (chickenpox) vaccine
 

varicella virus (chickenpox) vaccine

Pronunciation: VAR i SEL a VYE rus vax EEN

Brand: Varivax

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine?

The varicella vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given to a child who is 12 to 15 months old. The booster shot is then given at 4 to 6 years of age, or at least 3 months after the first dose.

If you are at least 13 years old and you have never had chickenpox or received this vaccine, you should receive two varicella virus vaccines at least 28 days apart.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Be sure you receive all recommended doses of this vaccine. If you do not receive the full series of vaccines, you may not be fully protected against the disease.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

Do not give salicylates such as aspirin, Disalcid, Doan's Pills, Dolobid, Salflex, Tricosal, and others to a child under 18 for at least 6 weeks after he or she has received varicella vaccine. A serious condition called Reye's Syndrome has been reported in young people with chickenpox who take aspirin or salicylates.

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You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with chickenpox is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

What is varicella virus vaccine?

Varicella (commonly known as chickenpox) is a common childhood disease that causes fever, skin rash, and a breakout of fluid-filled blisters on the skin. Most people who receive this vaccine will not get chickenpox, or will get only a mild case and will recover faster.

Chickenpox is usually mild, but it can be serious or even fatal in young infants and in adults. It can lead to severe skin infection, breathing problems, brain damage, or death. A person who has had chickenpox can develop herpes zoster (also called shingles) later in life, which causes severe nerve pain, and hearing or vision problems, which may last for months or years.

Chickenpox is spread from person to person through the air, or by coming into contact with the fluid from a chickenpox blister.

Varicella virus vaccine is for use in adults and children who are at least 12 months old.

This vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus or a protein from the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Like any vaccine, the varicella virus vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

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You should not receive this vaccine if you are allergic to gelatin, neomycin (Mycifradin, Neo-Fradin, Neo-Tab), or if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing varicella.

You should also not receive this vaccine if you have:

  • active tuberculosis infection that is not being treated;
  • a history of Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome;
  • a chronic disease such as asthma or other breathing disorder, diabetes, kidney disease, or blood cell disorder such as anemia;
  • if you or someone in your household has severe immune suppression caused by disease (such as cancer, HIV, or AIDS), or by receiving certain medicines such as steroids, chemotherapy or radiation;
  • if you are under 18 years old and have recently taken aspirin or other similar medicines such as Disalcid, Doan's Pills, Dolobid, Salflex, Tricosal, and others;
  • if you have recently received a stem cell transplant; or
  • if you are pregnant.

Before receiving varicella virus (Chickenpox) vaccine, talk to your doctor if you have:

  • thrombocytopenia purpura (easy bruising or bleeding);
  • active tuberculosis infection; or
  • if you have received an immune globulin or other blood product within the past year.

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

Multum nopreg

Avoid becoming pregnant for at least 3 months after receiving a varicella vaccine.

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Do not receive this vaccine without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) under the skin. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

The varicella vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given to a child who is 12 to 15 months old. The booster shot is then given at 4 to 6 years of age, or at least 3 months after the first dose.

If you are at least 13 years old and you have never had chickenpox or received this vaccine, you should receive two varicella virus vaccines at least 28 days apart.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to take.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring if you have a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

This vaccine can cause false results on a skin test for tuberculosis. Tell any doctor who treats you if you have received a varicella virus vaccine within the past 4 to 6 weeks.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you will miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure you receive all recommended doses of this vaccine. If you do not receive the full series of vaccines, you may not be fully protected against the disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

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For at least 6 weeks after receiving a varicella vaccine, avoid coming into contact with newborn infants, pregnant women who have never had chickenpox, and anyone who has a weak immune system. There is a chance that you could pass the virus to a person with a weak immune system or no immunity to chickenpox.

What are the possible side effects of this vaccine?

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You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

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Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with chickenpox is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Multum emt

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • cough, tight feeling in your chest, breathing problems;
  • seizure (black-out or convulsions);
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • behavior changes; or
  • high fever (within a few hours or a few weeks after the vaccine).

Less serious side effects include:

  • redness, pain, or swelling where the shot was given;
  • low fever;
  • mild skin rash;
  • runny or stuffy nose, cough, sore throat;
  • headache, tired feeling;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • joint or muscle pain; or
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What other drugs will affect varicella virus vaccine?

Do not use salicylates (aspirin or aspirin containing products) for at least six weeks after receiving the vaccine. A serious condition called Reye's Syndrome has been reported in patients with chicken pox taking salicylates.

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Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Also tell the doctor if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;
  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, such as azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and others; or
  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection, such as basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).

If you are using any of these medications, you may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

There may be other drugs that can affect this vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you have received. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist may have information about this vaccine written for health professionals that you may read. You may also find additional information from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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