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Chickenpox prevention

3-minute read

The best way to avoid chickenpox is to have your child immunised. Chickenpox vaccination is recommended as part of routine childhood immunisation to help prevent the disease.

Chickenpox vaccine is now given free as part of the government immunisation program. It is free under the National Immunisation Program Schedule. To receive imunisation, visit your local doctor or immunisation provider. It is important to note that although the vaccine is provided at no cost, a consultation fee may apply.

The chickenpox vaccination is given on its own or combined with the vaccination for measles, mumps and rubella. A catch-up program is available for children aged about 12-13 years who have not had chickenpox or received the varicella vaccine.

If you are an adult who has never had chickenpox and you haven’t been vaccinated, talk to your doctor about whether you need a catch-up vaccine.

The vaccine should not be given to pregnant women, people whose immune systems are affected by a medical condition or who are taking high doses of immune suppressing medicine or people who have had had an anaphylaxis to the chickenpox vaccine in the past.

Chickenpox vaccine

Vaccination is your best protection against chickenpox. This table explains how the vaccine is given, who should get it, and whether it is on the National Immunisation Program Schedule. Some diseases can be prevented with different vaccines, so talk to your doctor about which one is appropriate for you.

What age is it recommended?

Children aged 12 months to 14 years.

Adolescents aged over 14 and adults who have not received 2 doses of varicella-containing vaccine, particularly healthcare workers, childhood educators and carers and people who work in long-term care facilities.

How is it administered? Injection
Is it free?

Free for children at age 18 months and people under 20 years old, refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age.

Find out more on the Department of Health website and the National Immunisation Program Schedule, and ask your doctor if you are eligible for additional free vaccines based on your situation or location.

Common side effects The vaccine is very safe. The most common side effects are pain, redness or swelling where the needle went in, rash and fever. Very rarely, people who have had the vaccine may develop shingles.

Another way to avoid chickenpox is to avoid close contact with people with chickenpox.

If you or someone close to you has chickenpox, then remain isolated from others to prevent cross infection. This means taking time from work, social contact, attending school or care. Check with your doctor how long to remain isolated.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2019

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