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Varicella Vaccine Composition, Dosage, and Administration

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One of the Recommended Vaccines by Disease

Two vaccines containing varicella virus are licensed for use in the United States.

  • Varivax® is the single-antigen varicella vaccine.
  • ProQuad® is a combination measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (MMRV) vaccine.

Note: ProQuad® is not currently available. For more information, see Merck’s Web site on vaccine supply.

Both vaccines contain live, attenuated varicella-zoster virus derived from the Oka strain.

Children 12 months through 12 years old

  • 2 doses (0.5 ml each) of varicella vaccine should be given subcutaneously, separated by at least 3 months
  • MMRV vaccine is approved for healthy children in this age group

Single-antigen vaccine and MMWR vaccine can be used for the routine 2-dose varicella vaccination.

  • First dose: 12 through 15 months
  • Second dose: 4 through 6 years.

For the first dose, CDC recommends that MMR and varicella vaccines be given separately in children 12 through 15 months old unless the parent or caregiver expresses a preference for MMRV vaccine.

Both vaccines may be given at the same time as other vaccines for children 12 through 15 months and 4 through 6 years old.

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People 13 years or older

  • 2 doses (0.5 ml each) of the single-antigen varicella vaccine subcutaneously 4 to 8 weeks apart
  • MMRV vaccine is not approved for people in this age group

For package inserts, see Varivax® and ProQuad®.

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.

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.

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