Varicella is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by an eruption of small blisters on the skin and mucous membranes. Although not 100% effective, the vaccine is indicated for individuals 12 months of age and older.
The vaccine is a live, attenuated varicella virus lyophilized in a preparation containing sucrose, phosphate, glutamate, and processed gelatin. It should not be given to anyone allergic to any of these components or with a history of neomycin allergy. No one pregnant, immunosuppressed, with untreated active tuberculosis, or experiencing a febrile illness should receive this vaccine. Pregnancy should be avoided for 3 months after receiving the vaccine.
Vaccination should be deferred for at least 5 months following blood or plasma transfusions, or administration of immune globulin or varicella zoster immune globulin. Varivax should not be given simultaneously with immune gamma globulin, and administration of IG should be at least 2 months after receiving Varivax. Recipients should NOT use salicylates (aspirin) for six weeks after vaccination to avoid possible Reye's Syndrome.
The vaccine viruses are shed in the recipient's stools for at least six weeks, therefore recipients should observe good hand washing after using the toilet and avoid close association with susceptible high risk individuals (e.g., newborns, pregnant women, immunocompromised persons) due to the potential capability of transmitting the vaccine virus. It is not known whether varicella virus is secreted in human milk. Therefore, nursing women should not receive this vaccine.
Varivax is given as a .5ml subcutaneous injection on day 0 and again 4 to 8 weeks later. Possible side effects may include: pain and redness at the injection site, fever, rash, upper/lower respiratory illness, stiff neck, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, disturbed sleep, nausea, chills, eye complaints, malaise, diarrhea, irritability/nervousness, swollen glands, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, joint pain, ear inflammation, itching, vomiting, constipation, or canker sores.
Make your appointment at the SHS Travel Clinic by calling (858) 534-8089.