Michelle Greiver, M.D., C.C.F.P.
Family Physician
240 Duncan Mill road, suite 705
Toronto, Ontario M3B 3S6
Phone (416) 222-3011
Fax (416) 221-3097
Email  mgreiver@rogers.com

The Chickenpox vaccine

A vaccine is now available to prevent chickenpox: the Varivax III.  It can be given to babies after they are a year old, and to children and adults who have never had chickenpox.  Babies and children need a single shot; teens 13 and over, and adults need two shots 4 to 8 weeks apart.

How well does it work?  the Varivax III vaccine prevents about 80% of all chickenpox, and about 95% of severe chickenpox.  People who get chickenpox even though they have received the vaccine get milder cases.  We do not know if the vaccine is life-long or not, so a booster shot may be needed in the future.

Are there side-effects?  You can get a rash, or a few chickenpox marks where the vaccine is injected; sometimes there is fever, for which Tylenol should be given.

The vaccine must be kept cold, otherwise it won’t work.  Please order Varivax at your pharmacy ahead of time,.  The pharmacist will give you a cold pack for it. 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended this vaccine for all persons who have never had chickenpox.

If you have any further questions, please ask me.

Michelle Greiver, M.D., C.C.F.P.