Varicella Virus Vaccine Live

Reviewed on 6/13/2022

What Is the Varicella Virus Vaccine Live and How Does It Work?

Varicella Virus Vaccine Live is a vaccine used as an immunization against varicella.

  • Varicella Virus Vaccine Live is available under the following different brand names: Varivax

What Are Dosages of the Varicella Virus Vaccine Live?

Adult and pediatric dosage

Vaccine

  • 1350 plaque-forming units/0.5mL

Varicella Immunization

Adult dosage

  • 2 dose series: 0.5 mL SC, repeat at least 4 weeks later

Pediatric dosage

Routine vaccination

  • 2 dose series: 0.5 mL SC
  • 1st dose: 12-15 months
  • 2nd dose: 4-6 years; may be administered before age 4 years, provided at least 3 months have elapsed since the first dose
  • Note: If the 2nd dose was administered at least 4 weeks after the first dose, it can be accepted as valid

Catch-up vaccination aged 7-18 years

  • Aged between 7-12 years: 0.5 mL SC for 2 doses at least 3 months apart; if the second dose was administered at least 4 weeks after the first dose, it can be accepted as valid
  • Aged above 13years: 0.5 mL SC for 2 doses at least 4 weeks apart

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows: 

  • See “Dosages”

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Varicella Virus Vaccine Live?

Common side effects of the Varicella Virus Vaccine Live include:

  • redness, itching, tenderness, swelling, bruising, or a lump where the shot was given,
  • low fever, and
  • mild skin rash that looks like chickenpox (up to 1 month after vaccination)

Serious side effects of the Varicella Virus Vaccine Live include:

  • high fever,
  • seizure,
  • cough,
  • pain or tight feeling in the chest,
  • breathing problems,
  • easy bruising or bleeding, and
  • unusual weakness

Rare side effects of the Varicella Virus Vaccine Live include:

  • none

This is not a complete list of side effects and other serious side effects or health problems that may occur due to the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may report side effects or health problems to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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What Other Drugs Interact with Varicella Virus Vaccine Live?

If your medical doctor is using this medicine to treat your pain, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist first.

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker for any drug interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions or concerns.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Varicella Virus Vaccine Live?

Contraindications

Effects of drug abuse

  • None

Short-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Varicella Virus Vaccine Live?”

Long-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Varicella Virus Vaccine Live?”

Cautions

  • Avoid contact with high-risk individuals up to 5 wk after vaccination
  • Thermolabile: store at a temperature -20°C or colder
  • Syncope accompanied by transient visual disturbances, weakness, or tonic-clonic movements reported with injectable vaccines
  • Postpone administration in patients with moderate or severe illness with or without fever; may administer to patients with mild illness with or without fever
  • Avoid pregnancy for 3 months following therapy
  • Defer vaccination in individuals with a family history of congenital or hereditary immunodeficiency until the individual's immune status is evaluated and found to be immunocompetent
  • Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommendations on the use of the varicella vaccine in HIV-infected individuals
  • Immunoglobulins (IG) and other blood products should not be given concomitantly with this vaccine; the products may contain antibodies that interfere with vaccine virus replication and decrease expected immune response
  • The ACIP has specific recommendations for intervals between administration of antibody-containing products and live virus vaccine
  • Avoid the use of salicylates (aspirin) or salicylate-containing products in children and adolescents 12 months through 17 years of age for six weeks following vaccination because of the association of Reye syndrome with salicylate therapy and wild-type varicella infection
  • Risk of vaccine virus transmission
    • Post-marketing experience suggests that transmission of varicella vaccine virus (Oka/Merck) resulting in varicella infection including disseminated disease may occur between vaccine recipients (who develop or do not develop a varicella-like rash) and contacts susceptible to varicella including healthy as well as high-risk individuals
    • Due to concern for transmission of vaccine virus, vaccine recipients should attempt to avoid whenever possible close association with susceptible high-risk individuals for up to six weeks following vaccination with this vaccine
    • Susceptible high-risk individuals include Immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior infection, newborn infants of mothers without documented history of varicella or laboratory evidence of prior infection, and all newborn infants born at less than 28 weeks gestation regardless of maternal varicella immunity

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Do not use it in pregnancy. The risks involved outweigh the potential benefits. Safer alternatives exist.
  • Lactation
    • Not known if excreted in breast milk; use caution.
References
https://reference.medscape.com/drug/varivax-varicella-virus-vaccine-live-343177#6

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