What do we know about the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine?
The vaccine was licensed in 1995. It is 85% effective in preventing chickenpox. It almost always protects against severe chickenpox disease. Before chickenpox vaccine was available, about 11,000 persons with chickenpox had to go to the hospital each year. From 1990 through 1996, about 103 deaths from chickenpox were reported each year. In June 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended routine vaccination of all children with two doses of varicella, the first dose of varicella vaccine administered at age 12-18 months, the second dose administered at 4-6 years of age. A second catch-up dose is recommended for all children, adolescents and adults who have received only one dose. Varicella vaccination with two doses is now recommended for anyone 13 and older without evidence of immunity. Click here to read ACIP recommendation details. For more information on the vaccine, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: http://www.cdc.gov/nip/diseases