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Chickenpox vaccination

Chickenpox 

vaccination

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Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads very easily from person to person. You can catch it by direct contact with the fluid from chickenpox blisters or by breathing in the virus particles that are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Just remember though, you can also be infected with the chickenpox virus by touching an object or surface contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Chickenpox, what is it?

Chickenpox vaccination

The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get vaccinated. The chickenpox vaccine is both safe and effective. Once you’ve had two doses of the Chickenpox vaccine it’s approximately 94% effective and you’re protected for life.

The chickenpox vaccination is £74 per dose for adults and £74 per dose for children

Chickenpox vaccine price

Dr Ravi Gowda

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases or one of his highly trained clinical colleagues will be looking after your vaccine requirements. 

Who will be providing your chickenpox vaccination?
We're a team of trained experts

Experts in Infectious Diseases

and Travel Medicine

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Over 21 years of experience in Travel Health

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Cared for more than

10,000  patients

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Over 150 5 star reviews on Google Reviews

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Book appointment online

1. Book an appointment online

Book and pay for your vaccination consultation online.

Family consultation

2. Attend your consultation

Complete an online health assessment and attend your consultation.

Chickenpox vaccination

3. Get your chickenpox vaccination

Get the vaccination you need and you're ready to go.

How it works
Prevention icon

You can reduce transmission by washing your hands frequently, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, disinfecting contaminated surfaces and staying home if you have chickenpox.

Prevention
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Sadly, once you’ve caught the virus there’s no treatment for chickenpox. The good news is that most cases get better by themselves, particularly chickenpox in children. Chickenpox in adults can be more serious and you’re more likely to develop complications. So, it’s worth considering the chickenpox vaccination if you’ve never had chickenpox as a child or you’d simply like to prevent chickenpox for your child.

Chickenpox treatment
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The early stage of chickenpox typically starts with a fever, headache, and generally feeling unwell. This is followed by a typical chickenpox rash which is a red, itchy rash that eventually turns into spots and fluid-filled blisters. The rash usually begins on the face, chest, and back, but then spreads to other parts of the body. The blisters will eventually crust over and scab before healing. Although these are the typical chickenpox stages, they can be variable. You or your child may also experience fatigue, loss of appetite, and muscle aches at any stage of the infection. If you’re unlucky, chickenpox can be severe enough to cause pneumonitis or encephalitis, however complications of chickenpox are uncommon.

Chickenpox symptoms
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A virus called varicella-zoster causes chickenpox. The same virus can also reactivate and cause shingles in later life. Children often get infected with chickenpox in crowded rooms in nurseries or at birthday parties when lots of children get together.

Chickenpox causes
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The chicken pox vaccine is remarkably safe considering it’s a weakened live virus. You can end up with the sore injection site or the occasional fever but otherwise you should be fine. Less than 10% of individuals might develop a localised chicken pox like rash at the site of the injection but this isn’t usually serious.

Chickenpox vaccination side effects
  • You'll be glad to know that it's an effective vaccine. The first dose is about 90% effective and after the second it's upwards of 94%. Once you've had the second dose of the chickenpox vaccine, that's it - you're protected for life!

  • This is an interesting question as there is some debate about this around the world. You can receive the chickenpox vaccine as part of the National schedule in some countries but not others. Notably, it's not on the UK childhood immunisation schedule, however, the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisations (JCVI) have recently recommended that all children should be offered the chickenpox vaccine on the NHS. This is because although it's generally a mild disease, you can develop serious complications that can include:

     

    • Bacterial septicemia (a serious bacterial infection of the bloodstream)

    • Chickenpox pneumonitis (severe inflammation of the lungs ) 

    • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) 

    • Although it’s a mild disease in most people,10-15 people die of chickenpox in the UK every year

    You’re at risk of developing serious complications of chickenpox if you:

     

    • Are an adult

    • Smoke

    • Pregnant (as well the unborn child and newborns who are also at risk of severe disease)

    • Have a weakened immune system

    • Are an adult and have underlying lung disease such as asthma

    • Suffer from eczema

  • The chickenpox vaccine is made from a live, weakened virus, so you shouldn’t receive it if you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system. Chickenpox in the newborn can be serious, so if you’re not immune to chickenpox and pregnant, you should be very careful. If you’re exposed to the chickenpox virus, you can be treated with varicella-zoster immunoglobulin to protect you and your baby. Ask your doctor for more information.

  • This is quite long and it's about 18 to 21 days. This means that if you or your child has been exposed to chickenpox, you can get vaccinated within 72 hours and there's a chance that you may not develop chickenpox. Please ask us for advice.

  • Yes, it’s very infectious. You might get infected if you’re simply in a room with someone who has chickenpox for more than 15 minutes. Just bear in mind that you can also be infectious for one day before your rash starts.

Frequently asked questions

Authors:

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine

MBBS, MRCP(UK), DTM&H, MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, DFFP

Caitlin Lancaster, BSc

 

Resources:

  1. Yellow fever - Centers for Disease Control

  2. Yellow fever certificate vaccine requirements country list - WHO

  3. Patient information leaflet for Stamaril (yellow fever vaccine)