This vaccine is a live but weakened
form of the chickenpox (varicella) virus. Most health experts recommend that
all children 12 months of age and older who have not had chickenpox get one
dose at 12 to 15 months and a second dose at 4 to 6 years old.
Adolescents and adults who are not already immune to the chickenpox virus
need two doses at least 4 weeks apart.
When a weak form of the
virus is injected, the body's immune system reacts. It destroys the virus and
makes disease-fighting proteins (antibodies) to fight the virus. The antibodies
to that virus stay in the body and will keep the person from getting sick or
getting severe symptoms if exposed to the virus again. The person is then
considered immune to chickenpox.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.