Varicella Virus Vaccine

Name: Varicella Virus Vaccine

Varicella Virus Vaccine Dosage

This vaccine is given as an injection under the skin. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office, clinic setting, or pharmacy.

Children from 12 months to 12 years old may receive only one dose, or may also be given a booster dose 3 months after the first. People who are at least 13 years old should receive two shots given 4 weeks apart.

Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

This vaccine can cause false results on a skin test for tuberculosis. Tell any doctor who treats you if you have received a varicella virus vaccine within the past 4 to 6 weeks.

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

Contact your doctor if you will miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of this vaccine. You may not be fully protected against disease if you do not receive the full series.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Varicella Virus Vaccine?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • This medicine may not protect all people who use it. Talk with the doctor.
  • Rarely, you can spread the chickenpox virus to others after you get this vaccine. When you are able to, avoid close contact with certain people like newborns, pregnant women who have not had chickenpox, and people with weak immune systems. Do this for up to 6 weeks after getting this vaccine. Talk with your doctor if you cannot avoid close contact with these people.
  • Do not take aspirin or products like aspirin for at least 6 weeks after getting this vaccine. The chance of a very bad illness called Reye's syndrome may be raised. Reye's syndrome causes damage to the brain and liver.
  • This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
  • If you get pregnant within 3 months after getting varicella virus vaccine, call your doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

How is this medicine (Varicella Virus Vaccine) best taken?

Use this medicine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

Index Terms

  • Chickenpox Vaccine
  • VAR
  • Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) Vaccine (Varicella)
  • VZV Vaccine (Varicella)

Pharmacologic Category

  • Vaccine
  • Vaccine, Live (Viral)

Use Labeled Indications

Varicella prevention: For the prevention of varicella in persons 12 months and older

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends vaccination for all children, adolescents, and adults who do not have evidence of immunity (CDC/ACIP [Marin, 2007]). Vaccination is especially important for:

• Healthcare personnel

• Household contacts of immunocompromised persons

• Persons living or working in environments where transmission is likely (teachers, child-care workers, residents and staff of institutional settings)

• Persons in environments where transmission has been reported

• Nonpregnant women of childbearing age

• Adolescents and adults in households with children

• International travelers

Off Label Uses

Varicella postexposure prophylaxis

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Prevention of Varicella: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)", varicella virus vaccine given within 3 days (possibly 5 days) after exposure to varicella rash is effective in preventing illness or modifying severity of disease in persons without other evidence of immunity.

Dosing Pediatric

Varicella immunization: SubQ:

US labeling:

Children ≥12 months: 0.5 mL; a second dose may be administered ≥3 months later

Note: The ACIP recommends the routine childhood vaccination be 2 doses, with the first dose administered at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose should be administered at 4 to 6 years of age before school entry, but it may be administered earlier provided ≥3 months have elapsed after the first dose. Children ≥ 7 years and adolescents who received only 1 dose of vaccine should receive a second dose (CDC/ACIP [Marin 2007]). If the second dose was administered ≥4 weeks after the first dose, it may be considered as valid (ACIP [Robinson 2016]).

Adolescents ≥13 years: Refer to adult dosing.

Canadian labeling:

Children ≥12 months:

Varilrix: Two doses of 0.5 mL separated by ≥6 weeks

Varivax III: 0.5 mL as a single dose

Alternative recommendations (NACI 2016): Two doses of 0.5 mL with first dose administered at 12 to 15 months of age. Separate doses by ≥3 months; however, if rapid protection is necessary, may administer second dose after ≥4 weeks.

Adolescents ≥13 years: Refer to adult dosing.

Postexposure prophylaxis (healthy, previously unvaccinated individuals) (off-label use): Children ≥12 months and Adolescents: SubQ: 0.5 mL administered ideally within 72 hours postexposure but may be used up to 120 hours (5 days) postexposure (CDC/ACIP [Marin 2007])


Prior to reconstitution and during shipping, store vaccine in freezer at -50°C to -15°C (-58°F to 5°F). Use of dry ice may subject vaccine to temperatures colder than -58°F (-50°C). Vaccine may be stored under refrigeration at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F) for up to 72 hours. Protect from light. Store diluent at room temperature of 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F) or in refrigerator. Gently agitate to mix thoroughly. (Total volume of reconstituted vaccine will be ~0.5 mL.) Administer immediately following reconstitution, discard reconstituted vaccine if not used within 30 minutes.

Varilrix (Canadian product): Prior to reconstitution, store vaccine under refrigeration at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). Vaccine not affected by freezing. Store diluent at 25°C (77°F) or under refrigeration. Following reconstitution, vaccine may be stored for 90 minutes at 25°C (77°F) or up to 8 hours under refrigeration. Discard if not used within recommended times.