Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine – Childhood Vaccine Series

What is the vaccine?

The Varicella vaccine protects against the disease of chickenpox.

When is it administered?

One year and five years old.

What is the disease?

Chickenpox is a virus that creates itchy spots all over the body and usually is accompanied by a fever. Once you get the chickenpox, the disease lives permanently in your nervous system and can flare up in the adult years through a disease called shingles. Chickenpox is caught like the common cold and is pretty contagious in little ones.

Is it serious?

Not usually. The disease is fatal in 1 and 65,000 cases. Children with immune issues will have a harder time with chickenpox. A will older kids and adults – 1% of them deal with skin infections, kidney or liver issues, bleeding, achy joints, and neurological problems.
Pregnant moms who catch chickenpox in first trimester run the risk of birth defects. And if a mom’s chickenpox spreads to her newborn baby, it can be fatal.

Is it common?

Not so much anymore thanks to the vaccine that came out in the 1990s. We used to see 3.5 million cases annually and now it’s 50,000. Good news is that chickenpox is treatable with antiviral medication.

Is the vaccine controversial?

Not so much. The vaccine does contain MSG, plus DNA proteins from human cells and some cow fetus serum, but overall it’s pretty safe. And it’s effective. By immunizing your child against chickenpox, you may also help them avoid shingles later in life.

Mama Natural’s take:

I’m on the fence with this one. My gut is to just let the kid get the chicken pox naturally but another part of me wants to protect Griffin from any issues with shingles and cold sores. I had the chicken pox and haven’t suffered too bad.

Here are all the other videos in this series

DISCLAIMER: This video is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you, your children, or any other individual. Mama Natural provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this video is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Mama Natural is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this video or site.
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  1. You say the vaccine is not controversial–it is! Because the vaccine was derived from aborted fetal tissues. Google it. It’s a big problem.

    • That’s what I was thinking too! Definitely controversial.

  2. I need to be vaccinated with varicella for school. My doctor told me since it is a live virus, i cant be around my toddler (20months) for 3 days because he might catch it airborne. She said he is too young to get it. Does anyone know if after 3 days it is indeed safe to be around my toddler?

  3. My son got this a long with other shots around two (before I knew any better) he reacted to his set of shots so bad he was hospitalized. He also devolved a case of chicken pox just days later. The doctor told me it must have been a mutated strain he caught from someone but I believe it was the shot. Also since then he has suffered from allergies, asthma, eczema, and is on the the moderate end of the autism spectrum. It was an overnight change that forever changed my beliefs on vaccination.

  4. I’d just like to point out that you were incorrect in stating that varicella vaccine can prevent shingles. Even if you never get chickenpox if you’ve had the vaccine the vaccine virus can linger in your nerves just the same as the natural virus can and emerge as shingles.

  5. I am also curious if when you get chickenpox while pregnant the baby will be immune after birth. I had them in my 8th month of pregnancy and my son has never had them. He is twenty -two. I guess a doctor might know.

  6. My mother got chicken pox when she was pregnant with me. Fortunately, it wasn’t serious and didn’t have any issues cause it happened towards the last few weeks of her pregnancy. So, thank God I am a beautiful and healthy 25 year old woman! Lol however, I have not been infected with the virus, not once. So I am a little worried cause I am aware of the risks of getting chicken pox during adulthood. Anyway… A few days back I came across a young lady who was infected … Obviously this has brought paranoia and I don’t know what to expect on the days to come! I also heard that vaccination messes you up more than the actual virus … Please help!!!!

  7. My son is 1 and had his Chix Pox Vacc 2 weeks ago … healthy as a horse when we went in for his annual and has been sick ever since we left 🙁 Vomit, constant fever, cold sores, you name it. I am sick over this – I should have done my homework, I would have said NO!

    • My daughter also had severe adverse reaction to this vaccine, she had a blood in her diaper, turns out this vaccine causes secondary bacterial infections. She was continuously ill afterwards for 2 1/2 months with Bronchitis etc. etc.

    • How is your son now? How long was he sick for? I’m concerned my son is having reactions from this shot. I’m so upset. Please share the rest of your story…

    • Also did he have MMR with the shot or just Varicella alone?

  8. Not sure I agree with you on this one…

    I got all of my chicken pox vaccines, and although I never got actual chicken pox, I got a pretty severe case of shingles. My younger brothers and sisters weren’t vaccinated, and they never got chicken pox or shingles.

  9. That is true Jennifer, as vaccinations cause declining immunity over time. Here’s a research finding:

    Chicken pox vaccine associated with shingles epidemic
    1. September 2005 17:52
    New research published in the International Journal of Toxicology (IJT) by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D., reveals high rates of shingles (herpes zoster) in Americans since the government’s 1995 recommendation that all children receive chicken pox vaccine.
    Goldman’s research supports that shingles, which results in three times as many deaths and five times the number of hospitalizations as chicken pox, is suppressed naturally by occasional contact with chicken pox.

    Dr. Goldman’s findings have corroborated other independent researchers who estimate that if chickenpox were to be nearly eradicated by vaccination, the higher number of shingles cases could continue in the U.S. for up to 50 years; and that while death rates from chickenpox are already very low, any deaths prevented by vaccination will be offset by deaths from increasing shingles disease. Another recent peer-reviewed article authored by Dr. Goldman and published in Vaccine presents a cost-benefit analysis of the universal chicken pox (varicella) vaccination program. Goldman points out that during a 50-year time span, there would be an estimated additional 14.6 million (42%) shingles cases among adults aged less than 50 years, presenting society with a substantial additional medical cost burden of $4.1 billion. This translates into $80 million annually, utilizing an estimated mean healthcare provider cost of $280 per shingles case.

    • It’s true that widespread chickenpox vaccinations led to an increase in shingles cases, but those cases weren’t among people who had gotten the vaccine. They were among older people who had had chickenpox naturally when they were young. The hypothesis is that for older people who have had chickenpox, being exposed to children with chickenpox occasionally triggers an immune response that keeps the chickenpox virus from coming back as shingles.

      But there’s a trade-off here: by letting your kid have chickenpox naturally you are (maybe) preventing shingles in an older person. But you’re also putting your own kid at risk of getting shingles when they get old. By the time our kids are in their 50s, I don’t think there’s going to be any chickenpox left in the US.

  10. I thought that the vaccine increased your risk of shingles later in life since it is not natural immunity??

  11. If you do have to get the chicken pox shot, our dr. told us about a tighter (blood test) that can check your level of immunity to chicken pox. If you have a certain level of immunity, you do not need the second shot. We are also waiting it out to see if they catch chicken pox on their own!

    • Wouldn’t it be interesting to do an immunity check on toddlers who are still breastfed and have had no vaccines….

      • I have never had chicken pox, nor the vaccine. Before becoming pregnant I had my titer checked and I had the antibodies present. I would recommend it before you consider getting the vaccine.

  12. My mother got chicken pox when she was pregnant with me and I had eleven years of super strong immunity that survived endless waves of chicken pox at school. I finally got it, but it was a very mild case. But the scars are annoying.

    • I have a few scars and I think they’re kinda cute :).

  13. I declined the vaccine for my daughter because there is concern that immunity could decline over time. Chickenpox is relatively harmless in healthy children, but can be serious in adulthood or when pregnant.
    The vaccine was originally created for children on high-dose steroids (for asthma) or with cancer. We brought my daughter to a chickenpox party at age 2 and got it over with.

    • The idea of Chicken Pox parties makes me sick! Just let them catch it! You’re making your kids sick and putting them in a miserable situation. That’s not nice. I had chickenpox twice (there are different types) so getting it “Over With” by taking your child to a cruel sick kid party is pointless!

      • I got the chickenpox as a kid and all it was is itchy. It’s not really that bad. My mom made sure she caught it when /i had it and i remember all of us as kids making sure we each got it.

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