CDC Prevention Guidelines Database (Archive)
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Summary of Recommendations for Varicella Vaccination
Publication date: 07/12/1996
Table of Contents
ArticlePERSONS LESS THAN 13 YEARS OF AGE
12-18 Months of Age
- Persons of this age group should receive one 0.5-mL dose of vaccine subcutaneously.
- Children who have not been vaccinated previously and who lack a reliable history of varicella infection are considered susceptible.
19 Months-12 Years of Age
- All children should be routinely vaccinated at 12-18 months of age. Varicella virus vaccine may be administered to all children at this age regardless of prior history of varicella; however, vaccination is not necessary for children who have reliable histories of varicella.
PERSONS GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO 13 YEARS OF AGE
- Varicella vaccine is recommended for immunization of all susceptible children by the 13th birthday.
- Varicella virus vaccine should be administered to susceptible children during the routine immunization visit at 11-12 years of age but may be administered at any time during childhood.
- Persons in this age group should be administered two 0.5-mL doses of vaccine, subcutaneously, 4-8 weeks apart.
- Vaccination is recommended for susceptible persons who have close contact with persons at high risk for serious complications (e.g., health-care workers and family contacts of immunocompromised persons).
- Vaccination should be considered for susceptible persons in the following groups who are at high risk for exposure:
- Persons who live or work in environments in which transmission of VZV is likely (e.g., teachers of young children, day-care employees, and residents and staff in institutional settings).
- Persons who live or work in environments in which varicella transmission can occur (e.g., college students, inmates and staff of correctional institutions, and military personnel).
- Nonpregnant women of childbearing age. Vaccination of women who are not pregnant -- but who may become pregnant in the future -- will reduce the risk for VZV transmission to the fetus. Varicella immunity may be ascertained at any routine health-care visit or in any setting in which vaccination history may be reviewed (e.g., upon college entry). Women should be asked if they are pregnant and advised to avoid pregnancy for 1 month following each dose of vaccine.
- International travelers. Vaccination should be considered for international travelers who do not have evidence of immunity to VZV (e.g., serologic tests), especially if the traveler expects to have close personal contact with local populations, because varicella is endemic in most countries.
- Vaccination of other susceptible adolescents and adults is desirable and may be offered during routine health-care visits.
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