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Varicella Vaccine Administration Errors

Information for Healthcare Providers

People Who Got Varicella Vaccine But Should Not Have

People who got varicella vaccine but should not have because of contraindications, should be monitored for adverse reactions. Any adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at 1-800-822-7967 or through the VAERS website.

People who had varicella or a positive serologic test for varicella in the past are less likely to develop serious adverse reactions to the vaccine, unless they have had a prior serious allergic reaction to any component of a vaccine. For more information about potential adverse reactions, see Vaccine Safety and Monitoring.

Pregnant women should not get vaccinated. For more information, see Contraindications and Precautions for Vaccination or Guidelines for Vaccinating Pregnant Women: Varicella. To report administration of VZV-containing vaccines to a pregnant woman, call 1-877-888-4231. See Merck’s website for more information.


People Who Received Herpes Zoster Vaccine (Zostavax®) Instead of Varicella Vaccine

If herpes zoster vaccine is given instead of varicella vaccine, this dose should be counted as the first dose of varicella vaccine. A second dose of varicella vaccine should be given at the appropriate time interval after the first dose. For more information, see Routine Vaccination.

Such people have a higher chance of getting rash after receiving the herpes zoster vaccine than after varicella vaccine. 

They should be monitored for any serious adverse reactions. Adverse reactions and vaccine administration errors should be reported to VAERS at 1-800-822-7967 or through the VAERS website.