U.S. Chickenpox Vaccination Program

Chickenpox vaccine saves lives and prevents serious illness since '95

A Public Health Success Story

The chickenpox (varicella) vaccination program has made a significant public health and economic impact since it started in 1995. The United States became the first country to include the vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunization schedule.

Before the program began, chickenpox used to be very common in the country. Each year in the early 90s, there were more than 4 million cases of chickenpox, 10,500 to 13,500 hospitalizations, and 100 to 150 deaths in the United States. Most of the cases and hospitalizations and half the deaths were among children.

Now, chickenpox is rare in the United States, with fewer than 150,000 cases, 1,400 hospitalizations, and 30 deaths each year. Summarizing the first 25 years of the vaccination program, CDC and its collaborators published 14 manuscripts in a special supplement in the Journal of Infectious Diseases—highlighting the success of this important vaccine.

Healthcare Professionals: For a more detailed summary about the chickenpox vaccine and the impact of the program, see Chickenpox (Varicella) for Healthcare Professionals.


Infographic: Chickenpox vaccine saves lives and prevents serious illness

Chickenpox Vaccine Saves Lives and Prevents Serious Illness
This infographic shows the impact and success of the chickenpox vaccination program in the United States

Infographic: Breakthrough Varicella

Do You Know What Breakthrough Varicella (Chickenpox) Looks Like?
View an infographic that helps identify breakthrough varicella (chickenpox)
English | Spanish

More Information For Patients & Parents

Screen capture: Vaccine (Shot) for Chickenpox web page

Chickenpox Can Be Serious: Protect Yourself and Your Child

A brief, printer-friendly overview about the disease and vaccine. (English | Spanish)

Toddler with chickenpox

Disease of the Week: Chickenpox

Explore an interactive webpage with key facts, prevention tips, and a quiz about chickenpox and the vaccine.

Chickenpox VIS factsheet

Chickenpox Vaccine Information  Statement (VIS): What You Need to Know (English | other languages)

Combined Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella VIS (English | other languages)

Nobody Wants Chicken Pox!

Chickenpox – What You Need to Know (audio)

Listen and learn about chickenpox, its symptoms, how it spreads, and how to protect you and your family from getting it.