CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults. Children should receive two doses of the vaccine—the first dose at 12 through 15 months old and a second dose at 4 through 6 years old.
Chickenpox vaccine protects you against a very uncomfortable and sometimes serious disease. Chickenpox used to be very common in the United States. About 4 million people would get the disease each year. Also, about 10,600 people were hospitalized and 100 to 150 died each year because of chickenpox.
Thankfully, chickenpox vaccine has changed all that.
CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults. Two doses of the vaccine are about 98% effective at preventing chickenpox.
Passing of a Vaccine Pioneer
Dr. Michiaki Takahashi, who developed the chickenpox vaccine in the mid 1970s at Osaka University, died December 15, 2013 at the age of 85.
In a 2011 article, Dr. Takahashi recounted how his mission to develop a vaccine began after his son got chickenpox. "He was in a terrible way and all my wife and I could do was to watch him day and night... I realized then that I should use my knowledge of viruses to develop a chickenpox vaccine."
Each year, millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide are protected from severe disease from chickenpox thanks to Dr. Takahashi’s work.
When you get vaccinated, you protect yourself and others in your community. This is especially important for people who cannot get vaccinated, such as those with weakened immune systems or pregnant women.
Some people who are vaccinated against chickenpox may still get the disease. However, it is usually milder with fewer blisters and little or no fever. For more information, see Signs and Symptoms.
- CDC chickenpox disease Web site
- Chickenpox fact sheet - includes a true story of a 13-month old child’s experience with chickenpox
- Chickenpox fact sheet for parents
- Chickenpox Vaccine Information Statement
- Combined Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella Vaccine Information Statement
- Varicella (Chickenpox) - Preventive Measures for Travelers
- Page last reviewed: April 9, 2012
- Page last updated: February 7, 2014
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