Due to the recent chickenpox outbreak at a local school, we want to remind parents of the importance of the chickenpox vaccine or varicella vaccine. Since the vaccine was introduced in 1995, most children receive the varicella vaccine as part of their routine vaccines at their wellness exam. We give the first dose to babies at the one year check-up. In 2006 the CDC recommended giving a second dose of the vaccine to children over age 4 and adults who have not had the chickenpox. We routinely provide the second dose at children’s regular check-ups between the ages of 4 and 6.
What are the symptoms and how is it spread?
Chickenpox is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems. It spreads easily from infected people to others who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine. Chickenpox virus spreads in the air and by touch.
Get the Vaccine
Children and adults who do not have evidence of immunity to chickenpox should get the chickenpox vaccine.
- Preschool-age children age 12 months through 3 years need 1 dose.
- Children age 4+, adolescents, and adults need 2 doses.
Because chickenpox is very contagious, an outbreak in a school or daycare center can last for months. If there is an outbreak in a community, vaccinating the people in that community who have not yet had chickenpox can help shorted the length and severity of an outbreak.
To find out whether your child has had the second booster shot, you can contact your child’s physician through your myMANA account or by phone. You can also call the school or the Arkansas Health Department. The chickenpox / varicella vaccine is available at Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Clinic and 6 FirstCare Family Doctors clinics. Request an appointment today through your myMANA account or by calling your doctor’s office.