Chickenpox (also called varicella) is a highly contagious viral infection. It is usually a mild disease that doesn’t last long in children. It can be more severe in adults, pregnant women and people who are immunocompromised.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from chickenpox
Chickenpox vaccination also protects you from getting shingles later in life.
Who should get vaccinated against chickenpox
Anyone who wants to protect themselves against chickenpox can talk to their vaccination provider about getting vaccinated.
The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends chickenpox vaccination for specific groups including:
- children aged 12 months to under 4 years
- adolescents 14 years and over
- adults who have not received 2 doses of the chickenpox-containing vaccine, particularly
- healthcare workers
- childhood educators and carers
- people who work in long-term care facilities.
Chickenpox combination vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for children at 18 months.
Eligible people under 20 years old and refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age can get a free catch-up vaccination. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood and it is recommended to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine contains a small amount of live virus. Some people may not be able to have a live vaccine for medical reasons.
Chickenpox vaccines should not be given to:
- pregnant women
- people who have had anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any chickenpox vaccine or anaphylaxis after any component of a chickenpox vaccine
- people who are immunocompromised.
Read more about Getting vaccinated.
How to get vaccinated against chickenpox
Chickenpox vaccines include:
* Indicates National Immunisation Program vaccine.
Your vaccination provider will tell you which vaccine they will give you.
Chickenpox vaccines contain a small amount of the live virus. Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons. Discuss with your vaccination provider whether this vaccine is appropriate for you.
Find product information and consumer medicine information for each available vaccine from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Where to get vaccinated
You can get your vaccine from a range of vaccination providers. Find out where and more about your vaccination visit at getting vaccinated.
Possible side effects of chickenpox vaccination
You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most reactions are mild and last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.
Common side effects of chickenpox vaccines include:
- pain, redness and swelling at injection site
- occasionally, an injection-site lump (may last many weeks -no treatment needed)
- rash 5–26 days after vaccination, usually at injection site, occasionally elsewhere.
Talk to vaccination provider about possible side effects of chickenpox vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.
The Consumer Medicine Information available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website lists the ingredients and side effects of each vaccine.
Learn more about the possible side effects of vaccination.