Chickenpox Vaccination

What is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox is a common disease of childhood and is caused by exposure to the Varicella Zoster virus (VZV) which is transmitted by direct personal contact or by airborne means. Incubation period is usually 14 to 16 days but can range from 10 days to 21 days.
The illness itself is usually mild but it can be associated with more severe complications such as Shingles later in life as the VZ virus remains dormant in the body even after the chickenpox symptoms have passed.


How old does my child need to be?
We can vaccinate children aged 14 months or older.
The Chickenpox vaccine must be given at least a month after other vaccines so we recommend giving it a month after your baby has the 12-month and 13-month vaccines, ie at 14 months, but can be given any time after this too.

How many shots do they need?
HSE recommendations are for 2 doses at least 1 month apart.

Is the Chickenpox vaccine included in the routine childhood vaccination schedule?
It is in the routine schedule in many countries but not in Ireland yet.

How much does it cost?
The cost per shot is €90 which could seem expensive but should save you 2 unplanned and possibly unpaid weeks off work when the creche tell you that they won't take your child until the infection has passed.

How do I make an appointment?
Give Michelle or Fiona a call on reception for an appointment with our nurse, subject to availibility of the vaccine.

Why vaccinate:


  • To reduce the chance of you needing 2-3 weeks off work if their creche won't take the kids when they are infected.
  • To reduce unnecessary suffering of the child. Complications can include pneumonia, secondary bacterial skin infections and viral meningitis and encephalitis. Fatality Rate: 1/100,000 in children and 25/100,000 in adults
  • To reduce the chance of shingles in later life which has it's own complications (eg post-herpetic neuralgia)


Vaccination Schedule:

A vaccine is available and is licensed for use in Ireland in children over 1 year and adults. However, vaccination against VZV does not form part of the National Childhood Immunisation Programme.

Children can receive the vaccine from 12-14 months of age. It should not be given within one month of any other live vaccines (eg MMR, yellow fever).
Children aged from 1 year to less than 13 years  – 2 Doses are recommended, 4 to 8 weeks apart (we recommend your child gets the regular12-month and 13-month childhood vaccines as per the Irish schedule, then have the Chickenpox vaccine at any time after 14 months)


Vaccine efficacy is estimated to be 70-90% against infection, and 90-100%
against moderate or severe disease. Vaccine efficacy is lower (~75%) in
those aged >13 years. Immunity in most appears to be long lasting, probably
lifelong. However, approximately 1% of vaccinees per year have developed
mild breakthrough infections.

Full details here

Side effects:

Common: Mild injection site soreness;
Uncommon: Fever and varicella rash (approx. 5 lesions), allergy


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