Chickenpox Vaccine For Your Child’s Immunisation

Chickenpox is a common childhood illness and now there is a vaccine to protect against the varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. However, the chickenpox vaccination is not currently part of the childhood suite of immunisations recommended by the NHS. Find out more about the chickenpox vaccination Miles Pharmacy’s travel vaccinations clinic in Epsom.

Who is recommended to have the Chickenpox Vaccine?

There are two chickenpox vaccines currently available, Varivax and Varilrix

The NHS currently only recommend the chickenpox vaccine to those who are in close contact with someone who is particularly vulnerable to chickenpox or its complications. There are certain groups of people who are at greater risk from chickenpox and these include:-

  • People who are immune deficient so have a weakened immune system because of illnesses like HIV or medical treatments like chemotherapy
  • Pregnant women – chickenpox can be very serious for the fetus if mum catches chickenpox and may lead to serious birth defects

If you are exposed to people in these situations – there may be someone in your family or you could work in a medical environment – then it is advisable to have the chickenpox vaccination.

Why has the NHS chosen to avoid chickenpox immunisation?

In 2009, the NHS decided against universal vaccination of children due to costs and the fact that it could increase the incidence of shingles, a reactivation of the virus in older people which can be very serious.

For most children, chickenpox is a mild childhood illness that doesn’t leave any lasting effects. Now, over a decade later, there is a shingles vaccine for older people and so many parents are choosing to revisit the issue of the chicken pox vaccination and opt to have the immunisation privately.

What are the risks of chickenpox immunisation?

Serious side effects of the chickenpox vaccine are thankfully quite rare. The most common reaction is soreness or redness around the injection site, and mild flu-like symptoms which last for three or four days and can be easily managed with paracetamol or ibuprofen.

What is the chickenpox immunisation schedule?

The vaccine is given as two separate injections, usually into the upper arm. The doses are administered four to eight weeks apart.

Find out more about the chickenpox vaccination book an appointment at Miles Pharmacy’s travel vaccinations clinic in Epsom.