Understanding the Changes to the Chickenpox Vaccine

Understanding the Changes to the Chickenpox Vaccine

By Dr Kawisha Arander   General Practitioner (BMed MD FRACGP MPH DCH)

Chickenpox, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, was once a common childhood illness well known for its blistering itchy rash. However, thanks to advances in medicine we now have a highly effective way to prevent it: the chickenpox vaccine.

The vaccine works by introducing a weakened form of the virus into the body, allowing the immune system to recognise and build defences against it without causing illness.

In Australia, one dose is routinely given as part of the 18 month vaccination however the latest recommendation, from the Australian government, is that children aged 1-  <14 years of age are recommended to receive a second dose of varicella vaccine ≥4 weeks after the first dose (this 2nd dose is not routinely covered under the National Immunisation Program).

This is to provide longer lasting protection against chickenpox and is a safe and effective way to prevent a once-common childhood illness.

If you would like further information about the latest recommendations please do not hesitate to consult with a GP at the Madison Medical Practice.

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