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Chickenpox Vaccine Cuts Deaths

Universal Childhood Vaccination Sharply Lowers Chickenpox Deaths

Who Should Avoid the Vaccine?

Older children, teens, and adults can receive the vaccine at any time. Many states now require proof that children entering day care and school have either had chickenpox or have been vaccinated to prevent the virus.

A person who has been exposed to someone with chickenpox also can have the vaccine to prevent or decrease the severity of chickenpox. It is recommended that the vaccine be given within three days after exposure. Chickenpox vaccine is not recommended for:

  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women need to wait three months after receiving the chickenpox vaccine before they become pregnant.
  • Some people with impaired immune systems.
  • People who are taking high doses of corticosteroids by mouth. These medications weaken the immune system and may cause problems with this type of vaccination. People who are taking low doses of steroids or taking the medications by inhalation (such as people with asthma) may be able to take the chickenpox vaccine.
  • People with serious long-term illnesses, such as children with leukemia.
  • People who are allergic to the antibiotic neomycin. The chickenpox vaccine contains a small amount of neomycin.
  • People who have recently received an injection of immune globulin. This medication increases the body's ability to fight infection. People need to wait for three to six months after receiving immune globulin before receiving the chickenpox vaccine.

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