The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine is provided as part of routine immunizations in British Columbia. A second dose of this vaccine has recently been added to BC's immunization schedule for infants and children.
For more information about the vaccine, who should get it, the benefits and possible reactions, visit the Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine or the measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccine HealthLink BC File
- The varicella (chickenpox) vaccine is free and recommended for children as part of their routine immunizations. The chickenpox vaccine is given to children as a series of 2 doses. The first dose is given at 12 months of age; a second dose is given at school entry (4 to 6 years of age) as a combined measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine. The second dose was added to the BC routine immunization schedule in January 2012. Two doses of varicella vaccine are recommended for anyone who has not had chickenpox disease after one year of age.
- It is not necessary for those who had chickenpox or shingles at 1 year of age or older to get the vaccine.
- The vaccine is also be provided to students in grade 6 who have not received 2 doses of the vaccine. Most students will only need 1 dose of vaccine if they received a dose in the past. However, those who have never received the vaccine should get 2 doses at least 3 months apart. For more information about grade 6 immunizations in BC, read HealthLinkBC File #50F.
- If you are not sure whether you have had chickenpox disease or received the vaccine, it may be recommended that you have a blood test to check for antibodies against the varicella virus.
- This vaccine is 100% effective against severe forms of chickenpox, and up to 90% effective against mild forms of the illness.