Post-exposure Varicella Vaccination

Information for Healthcare Providers

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that after being exposed to varicella or herpes zoster, people who do not have evidence of immunity and are eligible for vaccination should get varicella vaccine.

  • Ideally, the vaccine should be given within 3 to 5 days after the person is exposed. This may prevent varicella or make it less severe.
  • Even if it has been more than 5 days, the vaccine should still be offered. This will provide protection against varicella if a person is exposed again in the future.

People who previously got the first dose should get a second dose at the appropriate time interval. For more information, see Routine Vaccination.

There are no data available on the use of the combination measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine (ProQuad®) for post-exposure vaccination.

Varicella vaccination is recommended for controlling outbreaks. People who do not have adequate evidence of immunity should get a first or second dose as needed. For information about outbreak surveillance, investigation, and control, see Chickenpox (Varicella) Outbreaks.

See Managing People at Risk of Severe Varicella for information on prevention and treatment options for people at risk of severe varicella who cannot get vaccinated.


Page last reviewed: April 5, 2012