Chickenpox is one of the most common childhood diseases. It is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with an infected person, or by inhaling airborne droplets from a sneeze or cough. Fortunately, there is a vaccine available that can protect children from this disease. The chickenpox vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing chickenpox in children and adults. It also helps reduce the severity of symptoms if someone does get it. Vaccinating your child against chickenpox is an important step in protecting their health and wellbeing.

Who Needs Chickenpox Vaccine

Children under age 13 years should get two doses:

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

The second dose may be given at an earlier age if it is given at least 3 months after the first dose.

People 13 years of age and older who have never had chickenpox or received chickenpox vaccine should get two doses, at least 28 days apart. Chickenpox vaccination is especially important for:

  • Healthcare professionals
  • People who care for or are around other people whose body is less able to fight germs and sickness (weakened immune system)
  • Teachers
  • Childcare workers
  • Residents and staff in nursing homes and other residential settings
  • College students
  • Inmates and staff of correctional institutions
  • Military personnel
  • Non-pregnant women of child-bearing age
  • Adolescents and adults living with children
  • International travelers

To check if you are protected from chickenpox, see Assessing Immunity to Varicella.