The chickenpox vaccine is now available.
Most physicians recommend it for all children who haven't had chickenpox. It is over 90% effective for preventing chickenpox. If vaccinated children do get chickenpox, it's usually very mild.
Some parents are reluctant to give their child another shot. Here's why you don't want your child to come down with real chickenpox:
- Most children get 3 to 4 hundred chickenpox. They are uncomfortable and itchy.
- Most children are out of day care or school for 6 or 7 days until they are no longer contagious, and someone has to be out of work to take care of them.
- Many children get bacterial skin infections and need treatment with an antibiotic.
- Each year 9000 children with chickenpox get serious complications and need to be hospitalized. Some die.
Hopefully, you're convinced that your child deserves the chickenpox vaccine. Here are answers to the most common questions parents ask about the vaccine:
- First: It's given at 12 months of age or any time thereafter.
- Second: Usually it's one shot. After age 13, it's two shots given 8 weeks apart.
- Third: Side effects from the vaccine are minimal. Pain or swelling at the injection site, lasting 1 to 2 days, occurs in about 20 percent of children. Fever lasting 1 to 3 days occurs in about 15 percent.
- Fourth: The vaccine occasionally causes a rash. 3 percent of children will get a small rash where the shot was given. Another 4 percent may get a slight rash scattered on their body, usually just 5 little bumps. This rash lasts 2 or 3 days and is not contagious.
In summary, chickenpox is no fun. Spare your child and yourself this miserable experience. If you have other questions about the chickenpox vaccine, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.