Chickenpox Vaccination Service

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This vaccination helps protect against varicella zoster virus, also known as chickenpox.

What is chickenpox?

Varicella zoster virus, also known as chickenpox, is a common infection which many people get in childhood. It is usually harmless and goes away within a week without needing to see a GP, but may pose a greater risk for some people.

By the time they reach adolescence, over 90% of people in the UK will have caught chickenpox. It’s highly contagious and you can catch it by being in the same room as someone with it. It can be spread by coughing, sneezing and direct contact. Chickenpox is infectious from 2 days before the spots appear until they crust over. 

If you’ve caught chickenpox as a child, it’s unlikely you’ll catch it again, although it may come back as shingles. However, although rare, complications of chickenpox can happen, usually in adulthood. 

Who is at risk of chickenpox?

Anyone is at risk of catching chickenpox, although the majority of people catch it before the age of 12. The symptoms are usually uncomfortable but harmless, though they may get worse with age. Symptoms are more likely to be severe, and the risk of complications higher, in adulthood. 

The NHS recommend and offer the chickenpox vaccine to those who are most vulnerable to the infection. This includes healthcare workers, laboratory workers in direct contact with the virus, and people in close contact with someone with a compromised immune system (for example, people who live with a chemotherapy patient).

Our chickenpox vaccination service is available to anyone looking to protect themselves from the infection, as well as those eligible for the NHS service but who chose to use a private one. 

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What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

Symptoms of chickenpox include:
  • Clusters of red, itchy spots which blister and form scabs
  • A high temperature (over 38°C)
  • Aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
What if I currently have chickenpox?

This vaccine will not work if you currently have chickenpox. If you or your child is currently experiencing an outbreak, our pharmacy team can offer advice on creams and pain relief to ease the symptoms. If you are an adult with chickenpox, you may wish to speak to your GP as the risk of complications is higher.

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I've come into contact with someone who has chickenpox. Will this vaccine help me?

The vaccine available at Well Pharmacy can be given to people who have been exposed to someone who has chickenpox. Having the vaccine within 3 days of exposure may help prevent chickenpox or reduce the severity of disease, resulting in fewer skin lesions and shorter duration of illness. In addition, there’s some information that suggests being vaccinated up to 5 days after exposure may reduce the severity of an outbreak.

Who is the chickenpox vaccination service suitable for?

The service may be suitable for you or your child if the patient:

  • Hasn’t already had the vaccine
  • Hasn’t had chickenpox before
  • Is at least 2 years old, and less than 65 years old
  • Isn’t pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Hasn’t had an allergic reaction to a vaccine before
  • Doesn’t have a temperature on the day of the appointment
  • Is not immunocompromised

Patients aged 2 to 12 will receive two doses of the vaccine:

  • One at their first appointment
  • One ideally six weeks after the first dose.

Patients aged 13 to 64 will receive two doses of the vaccine:

  • One at their first appointment
  • One after 4-8 weeks

How much does it cost?

The chickenpox vaccination costs £75 per dose. A full course requires two doses.

Vaccinations are subject to stock levels and the professional discretion of the pharmacist.

You must be at least 16 years old to use our website to book any of our services. If you are a parent or guardian booking on behalf of someone who is less than 16 years old, you must attend their appointment with them, or our pharmacist reserves the right to not provide the vaccination.