Chickenpox Vaccination Service

Something many of us experienced as children was the unbearable itching of chickenpox. However some people may not experience it until adulthood. Luckily, you may be eligible for a chickenpox vaccine at your local pharmacy.

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What is chickenpox?

Chickenpox is an acute, highly infectious disease causes by a virus the Varicella Zoster (VZ virus).

Chickenpox is a mild and common childhood illness that is mostly seen in children under the age of 10. It is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from person to person. Chickenpox can be a seasonal disease – there is often a peak between March and May although this has been less noticeable in recent years due to the COVID-19 safety measures.

hands and arms covered in chickenpox

It's unusual for adults to have chickenpox but it is possible. 90% of adults raised in the UK are immune to chickenpox due to already having it as a child. Adults who did not have chickenpox at a young age are more at risk of severe disease if they are not vaccinated against it.

What are the symptoms of chickenpox?

The symptom of chickenpox that we’re all familiar with is the spotty rash that can be anywhere on the body, this has three stages:

Chickenpox Stage 1

Stage 1

Small spots appear

Spots appear as red, pink, darker, or the same colour as the skin. Either spread or in a cluster.

Chickenpox Stage 2

Stage 2

Spots turn to blisters

These spots fill with fluid and become blisters which become very itchy and can burst.

Chickenpox Stage 3

Stage 3

Blisters become scabs

The blisters form a scab. Some are flaky while others leak fluid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any other symptoms of chickenpox?

Other symptoms that can occur are:

  • High temperature
  • Aches and pains, and generally feeling unwell
  • Loss of appetite

Who should be vaccinated?

Our chickenpox vaccination service may be suitable for adults and children who:

  • Haven’t already had the vaccine
  • Haven’t had chickenpox before
  • Are at least two years old, and less than 65 years old
  • Are not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are not immunocompromised (a weakened immune system)
  • Those who are health workers who have patient contact
  • Are laboratory staff
  • Are not eligible for an NHS vaccination but want to help protect themselves and their family from the disease
  • Those who have contact with immunocompromised patients, particularly where continuing close contact is unavoidable
  • Haven’t had an allergic reaction to a vaccine before

How do I get my chickenpox vaccine?

Children and adults should receive two doses of varicella vaccine, four to eight weeks apart (and certainly not less than four weeks apart). You will be asked a few questions to see if you are eligible. Your pharmacist will administer the vaccine in the privacy of the consultation room.

Book an appointment at a date and time that suits you here:

How much does it cost?

You will require two doses of the vaccine. Price vary depending on your pharmacy. Speak to your pharmacist to learn more.

What are the size effects of the chickenpox vaccine?

Following the vaccination you may experience some slight side effects. If you:

  • Have a sore arm, apply a cold compress.
  • Suffer from a headache or slight fever, drink plenty of water and take painkillers if suitable.

If your symptoms persist for over 48 hours please contact your GP surgery or NHS 111.

Before your vaccination, please tell your pharmacist if:

  • You feel unwell, have a temperature or are currently suffering from an infection
  • You have had any other vaccinations or immunisations in the last 3 months
  • You have ever fainted or felt dizzy after receiving an injection
  • You have any known allergies
  • You are taking any other medications
  • You are pregnant
child getting vaccine