Chickenpox Vaccine

By: Rachel Calderon
By: Rachel Calderon

Beginning this school year, Michigan children entering kindergarten or transferring into a new Michigan school district are required to get a chickenpox vaccine. You must show proof of vaccination or natural immunization.

Some physicians think the vaccine should go beyond younger kids.

"It's important to immunize those kindergarteners or toddlers, but what's even more important are the adolescents, college students or even adults and immunize those people. Regardless of age, if you haven't had the chickenpox, you should get vaccinated," Dr. Dean Sienko, Ingham County medical examiner.

The Ingham County Health Department and your primary care physician offer the vaccines.

Chickenpox is responsible for 11,000 hospitalizations and 100 deaths nationwide. The older you are when you get the chickenpox, you raise your risk for developing complications.

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Chickenpox Vaccine

  • Chickenpox is a disease that can be very easily spread from person to person. It is most common in children.

  • Most cases of chickenpox occur in people who are under 15-years-old.

  • Chickenpox is usually a mild illness, but it can cause problems like brain swelling, pneumonia and skin infections.

  • Some children get sicker than others, and chickenpox may be a very serious illness in infants and adults.

  • Because chickenpox is so contagious, a child with chickenpox shouldn't go to school or day care until all the sores have dried or crusted.

Varicella Vaccine

  • The varicella vaccine is a shot that can prevent chickenpox. It is called varicella vaccine because the varicella virus causes chickenpox.

  • Up to 90 percent of people who receive the vaccine will not get chickenpox.

  • People who get chickenpox after having the vaccine get a milder form of the disease.

Who should be vaccinated against chickenpox?

  • The chicken pox vaccine is not required like some other vaccines. However, it is generally safe and will save your child from suffering with a preventable illness.

  • The vaccine is given to children from 12 to 18 months of age, and older children can be given the vaccine if they haven't had chickenpox.

  • Adults who haven't had chickenpox but who work in health care or daycare, college students or staff, inmates of correctional institutions, women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, and people that has never had chickenpox and will be traveling to other countries might be recommended to have the varicella vaccine

Who should not receive the varicella vaccine?

  • People with immune diseases should not receive the vaccine.

  • People who are receiving high doses of steroids (such as prednisone).

  • Pregnant women should not receive the vaccine.

Varicella Vaccine Side Effects

  • The most common side effects are pain, redness or swelling at the injection site.

  • Severe reactions are rare.

Source: http://familydoctor.org/handouts/193.html (Information from Your Family Doctor Web site)


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