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Varicella (Chickenpox)

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Before there was a chickenpox vaccine, about 11,000 people were hospitalized because of the disease each year in the U.S. Today, kids miss an average of 5-6 days of school when they have chickenpox and parents and caregivers miss work to care for sick kids, too.

During the 2007-08 school year, more than 200 grade school students in Spokane were not allowed to go to school during chickenpox outbreaks because they were either unvaccinated, not fully  immunized, or because proof of immunizations were not on record at their school.

Before kids enter Kindergarten, they need to have 2 doses of the varicella immunization. The doses are recommended at these ages:

  • First dose: 12-15 months of age
  • Second Dose: 4-6 years of age

Make up doses are available for kids who have missed a dose during these ages.

Make an informed decision: Know the facts!

MYTH: Chickenpox is not a serious disease.
Chickenpox is often mild, but there may be complications such as infection of the skin or pneumonia following the chickenpox disease. About 1 child in 500 who gets chickenpox is hospitalized. People older than 15 and younger than 1 year, as well as those with reduced immunity, are more likely to suffer these and other complications.

MYTH: The chickenpox immunization is not effective.
FACT: The varicella immunization is very effective. About 9 of every 10 people who are immunized with 2 doses of varicella are completely protected from the chickenpox disease. When a case does occur, the recommended 2-dose immunization series is almost 100% effective in preventing severe disease.


Additional Information on Chickenpox

Washington State Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Within Reach WA

Immunization Action Coalition - Ask the Experts

Vaccines: Wading Through the Confusion VIDEO

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August 21, 2017