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La varicela solía ser muy común en los Estados Unidos. But the good news is that the vaccine has greatly reduced the number of people who get it. Two doses of the chickenpox vaccine are about 94% effective at preventing it. Most people who get the vaccine don't get chickenpox - and those who do usually get a much milder version of the disease.

There are 2 vaccines that protect against chickenpox:

  • The chickenpox vaccine protects children and adults from chickenpox
  • The MMRV vaccine protects children from measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox

Chickenpox is very contagious - it spreads easily from person to person. And while it's usually mild, it can cause serious complications like pneumonia (lung infection). Certain people - like infants, people with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women - are at increased risk for complications.

The chickenpox virus can also cause shingles later in life. Shingles is a disease that causes a painful skin rash and can affect the nervous system. Children who get the chickenpox vaccine may have a lower risk of developing shingles later on - and those who do get shingles often have a milder case than someone who has had chickenpox.

Vacunarse es la mejor manera de prevenir la varicela. And when enough people get vaccinated against chickenpox, the entire community is less likely to get it. Es por ello que, cuando usted y su familia se vacunan, ayudan a mantenerse saludables a sí mismos y a su comunidad.

Conozca más sobre cómo las vacunas ayudan a proteger a toda la comunidad.

Chickenpox is caused by a virus. Los síntomas de la varicela incluyen:

  • A red, itchy skin rash with blisters
  • Fiebre
  • Cansancio
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Dolor de cabeza

Chickenpox usually spreads when a person touches chickenpox or shingles blisters - or if they breathe in the virus. You can breathe in the virus after someone with chickenpox or shingles scratches their blisters, which releases the virus into the air.

It’s also possible to get chickenpox from breathing in tiny droplets from people who have it that get into the air after they breathe or talk. Learn more about chickenpox.

All children, adolescents, and adults who aren't immune to (protected from) chickenpox need 2 doses of the chickenpox vaccine. People who have only had 1 dose of chickenpox vaccine need to get a second dose.


Children age 12 months and older need to get the chickenpox vaccine as part of their routine vaccine schedule.

Los niños necesitan 2 dosis de la vacuna en las siguientes edades:

  • 12 a 15 meses para la primera dosis
  • 4 through 6 years for the second dose (or sooner as long as it’s 3 months after the first dose)

Children ages 1 through 12 years can get the MMRV vaccine, which is a combination vaccine that protects against chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella. El pediatra puede recomendar la vacuna adecuada para su hijo.

If your child missed the chickenpox vaccines, talk with your child’s doctor about scheduling a catch-up shot.


If you aren’t immune to chickenpox (if you haven’t had chickenpox in the past or you haven’t been vaccinated against it), you need to get 2 doses of the vaccine about 1 month apart.

Talk with your doctor about how to protect your family from chickenpox.

Some people should not get the chickenpox vaccine or may need to wait — for example, if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of the chickenpox vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine (including gelatin or the antibiotic neomycin)
  • Have recently had a blood transfusion or were given other blood products (like plasma) in the past 11 months
  • Have an illness that’s more serious than a cold

Be sure to tell your doctor before getting the chickenpox vaccine if you:

  • Have HIV/AIDS or another immune system disorder
  • Are taking medicines that can affect the immune system
  • Are getting treatment for cancer

Los efectos secundarios suelen ser leves y desaparecen en unos días. Pueden incluir:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness where the shot was given
  • Mild rash
  • Low fever

Serious side effects from the chickenpox vaccine are very rare.

Like any medicine, there's a very small chance that the chickenpox vaccine could cause a serious reaction. Keep in mind that getting the chickenpox vaccine is much safer than getting chickenpox. Conozca más sobre los efectos secundarios de las vacunas.

Las Declaraciones de información sobre la vacuna (VIS, por sus siglas en inglés) cuentan con información detallada sobre las vacunas recomendadas. Read the VISs for vaccines that protect against chickenpox:

Encuentre las VIS para estas vacunas en otros idiomas.

Última modificación: enero de 2018