Varicella (Chicken Pox) Vaccine
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Varicella (Chicken Pox) Vaccine
Does anyone have any information about a chicken pox vaccine
for adults? Is it available? I am a thirty year old mom with
a four month old baby and worry about getting chicken pox
when/if my son ever gets exposed. I want him to get it but
worry about the dangers for adults. Any thoughts?
Chicken about chicken pox
Call your doctor and see if they have the doses in the office.
If they do not, ask them to order them. You need two shots a
few months apart ( if my memory serves me correctly). If this
does not work, ask your pediatrician. Some will do it and some
will not (mine did when I discovered I needed two shots not just
one). You absolutely want to get the vaccine. You could be
really really really sick, and develop secondary illnesses later
in life. You also might want to consider the vaccine for your
child because he/she might be in your position 20, 30 years from
The bad news is chicken pox can be extremely serious in adults
(even fatal). The good news is there is an adult vaccine. So,
run, don! 't walk to your doctor to get the vaccine. I was in your
situation, and Kaiser checked to make sure I was not immune
already and then gave me the chicken pox vaccine (varicella) in
two doses about a month apart. The period before your own child
is vaccinated (about one year I believe) is very risky to the
Also, I think I read that if you are coming down with chicken
pox, if you get vaccinated immediately, it can lessen the
severity of the disease. Please consider getting vaccinated
right away and good luck!
I had to get the vaccination after my ob discovered that I hadn't ever had it or the
chicken pox. She missed this in my first pregnancy and fortunately caught it right
before we tried for number two. My GP didn't have the vaccination--I guess
insurance doesn't cover it, at least that's what they told me--so I went to the SF
Dept. of Health at the Civic Center and got it there. I think it was $70 or so. It's a
two shot process and they were great. Absolutely no side effects.
Hope this helps...
Contact your physician or medical group. When I was vaccinated
as an adult in 1997, it was two shots, one month apart. I think
it's still two shots, but it may be only one now, not sure.
I would make an appointment tomorrow to get a chicken pox
vaccination. The older you are, the more severe the disease.
Children do much better with the disease than adults.
The reason why there is a vaccination is because chicken pox
can cause pneumonia, swelling of the brain or death. It tends
to happen more in adults. The CDC highly recommends
vaccination unless you already had the disease.
The deal is that you can't have the vaccine until you are no longer
breastfeeding. If you're not breastfeeding, go for it. You! will need to have
a booster; be sure you remember that and ask your doc. I had the
vaccine when it first came out but no booster (they didn't realize the
necessity at first), and I'm not immune (found that out while preggers--
argh). I also developed some pox after the vaccine, but not ''real'' ones
(didn't itch, went away soon) but that's a very rare side effect.
Pox-free for now!
I'm assuming you're asking about this because you never had
chicken pox before? I also never had chicken pox growing up, so
I looked into getting the vaccine a few years ago - the first
step before getting the vaccine, even if you think you never had
chicken pox, is to get tested for the antibodies. Turns out I
did have the antibodies, so apparently you can be exposed to the
virus enough to get the antibodies but not show symptoms. I think
there is still a chance of getting the virus, but it's sli! m. If
you don't have the antibodies, one important thing to keep in
mind is that if you're planning to get pregnant, you need to wait
a year (or some length of time, can't remember how long exactly)
after getting the vaccine before you get pregnant. Also if
you're still breastfeeding I'd check with your doctor - I don't
know if that matters but it's worth asking about.
My 1-year-old son is due for the Chicken Pox vaccine at his next
dr. appt., and I wanted to find out if any toddlers have
experienced side effects when they had the Chicken Pox vaccine.
Did any of them get a rash afterwards? How long afterwards? Was
it bad enough to warrant medication? After past shots, my son
has often gotten cranky (even for those where fussiness was only
a possible side effect), so I'm concerned about how he might
react to this vaccine. Any advice on how other kids reacted
would be very appreciated.
Hi - my twenty-two month old son just got the Chicken Pox vaccine
and had an immediate reaction - within an hour he had a fever of
103.6 and was extremely listless. This lasted a little over 24
hours and took place just over a week ago. No pox have appeared
on his body. Though, if they do, my advice nurse told me that
they are, indeed, contagious just like the real thing. They can
appear anytime up to one month after getting the vaccine. Keep
this in mind if you are planning to be with other children/family
members/friends that have not yet had Chicken Pox. Remember, the
holidays are just around the corner!
A Mom in Oakland
My son got the vaccine a couple of months ago. He had absolutely
My daughter received her first Chicken pox Vaccine a couple
months ago. She did have a slight reaction to it but it showed
up about ten days after the vaccine was given. She got a couple
spots on her back, but it did not seem to bother her. The
doctor said that this was a common side effect. The shot is
also a painful shot, so I tried to be careful of the area in
which the shot was given for a couple days.
My son developed a live case of chicken pox after he got the
vaccine. His pediatrician said that only about 5% of children
do, and that we might as well consider ourselves lucky in
that the protection would be that much greater. His
symptoms were extremely mild--only two or three spots that
I might not have noticed if the biggest were not right at the
injection site. He also had a very mild fever for a day or so.
Otherwise, he felt just fine. The hardest part of the
experience was that we had to keep him quarantined for a
week, and we all got pretty bored.
Want exposure, not vaccination
I decided not to vaccinate my 2 kids against chicken pox, so I want them
to get exposed to the virus before too long. Do you or anyone you know
have the chicken pox that you'd like to share with us? Please call or
I just read a posting asking for exposure to chickenpox instead of a child
receiving the vacccine. As an advocate for child health and disease
prevention, I would just like to point out that chickenpox or its complications has been
the NUMBER ONE cause of childhood death among
vaccine-preventable illnesses in this country. Yes, chickenpox is usually a "mild"
(albeit annoying) illness in most children, but why would you want to expose your child
to a *strong* form of the virus when there is a much weaker (and less dangerous) form
available as a vaccine? In addition, the rate of "shingles" (a painful reactivation of
chicken pox) appears to be lower in vaccinated children. When my vaccinated
daughter was exposed to the chickenpox outbreak at school, I just whistled a happy
tune as she didn't get sick and got her own "shotless booster".
The problem with the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine is that it doesn't
seem to work all that well. My *personal* experience (I am not speaking in any
sort of health advisory capacity here), is that the vaccinated children at my
daughter's preschool still came down with the chicken pox, although usually with
a milder case. My *unvaccinated* daughter (who was not quite 3 years old at the
time) also came down with a very mild case. My concern in both cases (mild
symptoms, whether unvaccinated or vaccinated), is that the immunity will not be
very "strong," leaving the child open to secondary attacks later in life when the
consequences can be *much* more serious. There is no really good evidence (at
least there wasn't when I was reading about it almost 4 years ago) to say what the
*long-term* (i.e., lifelong) immunity effects will be from the vaccine--it simply
hasn't been studied long enough, even in Japan or Europe, to say what will
happen in 50 years. My fear is that we are creating, through use of an imperfect
vaccine, a whole cohort of people who will be vulnerable to this disease later in
life, with possible epidemiological consequences in 30 or 40 years.
Each parent will need to decide for themselves, based on the current
available information, what their choice is in this matter. My choice was
to leave her unvaccinated till age 5 or so, and then, if she hadn't
contracted it by then, probably give her the vaccine before entering
I wish all of us good luck in charting a course through these especially
I was cheered by the posting asking for exposure to Chickenpox. When my kids
had them (not in Berkeley) that was a standard response among parents of
otherwise healthy kids (and meant my "sick" kids could find friends to play with -
and infect). My understanding is that virtually all cases of death and catastrophic
reaction to Chickenpox virus involve kids with compromised immune systems,
SPECIFICALLY asthmatic kids taking PREDNISONE. A healthy kid should be
able to tolerate a dose of chickenpox -- it is of course terribly important to keep the
child out of the company of those for whom contracting Chickenpox WOULD be
devastating. I think the vaccine is easier on the parents -- no missed school or
daycare, no itchy kids to deal with.
I have chosen to postpone the chicken pox vaccine for my little one based
on a conversation I had with an MD/PhD at UCSF whose speciality is
childhood vaccines. He said the chicken pox vaccine just hasn't been around long
enough to know what the long term consequences are. Basically, the argument
goes, getting chicken pox as a child offers lifelong immunity to the disease; the
vaccine, however, does not.
Can vaccinated children still get chicken pox?
I am a childcare provider. In the last year or so I have seen many
cases of children who were vaccinated and still got chicken pox, mild
cases, but bad enough to make them uncomfortable. I do believe it is
contagious and can be passed to someone who already had chicken pox
or had been vaccinated. Some of the children in my program (who had
the vaccine) got chicken pox and others didn't. Most of these
children's pediatricians diagnosed the illness as chicken pox. One
doctor, according to the child's mother, mentioned that it looked
like chicken pox but couldn't tell for sure because he had never seen
a case like this. To me, it was obvious this child had it, specially
because, at the same time, there were two other children recovering
from it at home.
A few years ago I asked our pediatrician about giving my then 5 or 6
year old daughter the chicken pox vaccination. She had been exposed to
the chicken pox at least 3 times and hadn't gotten them. At the time his
office was not giving the vaccination. So we figured that we'd wait
and if she turned 10 or 12 without ever getting the virus, we'd insist
that she get the vaccination. However, this year at her 8 yr old check up
she was given the vaccination and she had no reaction (our 4 yr old also
had the vaccination with no reaction). The pediatrician would prefer not
to give the vaccination, but since so many children are getting
vaccinated the chances for actually getting the virus as a child are much
less and getting chicken pox as an adult is much more serious.
When our son's best friend came down with chickenpox in daycare, we
spoke to our pediatrician about the vaccine. It was too late for the vaccine
to protect our son at that time, so we gave it some thought. We finally
decided that the issues regarding revaccination later on were so unknown that
we decided not to have him vaccinated. He did catch chickenpox about 8
months later, after multiple exposures. He hardly felt ill and missed only 3
days of preschool. (By then, most of the kids in his preschool had had it so
the school was probably more relaxed about his return than it would have
been otherwise.) Our son is generally very healthy, so that might have
been a factor in his experience. Also, he had no one at home to put at risk.
One child at his school passed it to her baby sister and her mother, who
was very ill with it.
The common wisdom on the Varicella (Chicken Pox) Vaccine is that
"spread to others from people vaccinated is highly unlikely".
But be warned - it definitely CAN happen!
My daughter received the vaccine at her 1 year check-up.
2 weeks later she had a very small pox on her arm at the location
of the shot, and maybe 1 or 2 more on her leg (not too uncommon).
2 weeks after that, I now have 50-60 pox all over my body
(and, supposedly, I already had chicken pox as a child)
The "good" news is that the virus in the vaccine is an attenuated
version of what they call the "wild" chicken pox, and what I have
is relatively mild compared to what adults may typically suffer from
the wild chicken pox. No fever or other illness symptoms, and
relatively little itching. But inconvenient, mildly irritating,
and not a pretty sight. Apparently, our pediatrician has never
seen a case of this, and neither they nor my doctor can tell me much.
this page was last updated: Jun 21, 2005
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