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Chickenpox vaccine side effects

Common side effects

The most common side effects of the chickenpox vaccine are:

  • soreness and redness around the site of the injection – this happens in around one in five children and one in four teenagers and adults
  • a mild rash – this happens in 1 in 10 children and 1 in 20 adults

This NHS leaflet tells you about the common vaccination reactions in babies and young children up to the age of five.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects of the chickenpox vaccine, such as a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), are rare. They occur in around one in a million vaccinated people.

Although the chickenpox vaccine is not part of the routine NHS childhood immunisation schedule in the UK, it is in some other countries, such as the US and Germany.

Millions of doses of the vaccine have been given, and there is no evidence of any increased risk of developing a long-term health condition as a result of the vaccination.

Read more about vaccine side effects.

More about side effects

A patient information leaflet (PIL) is included in the pack of each dose of vaccine, and lists its potential side effects.

Read the PIL for the VARIVAX chickenpox vaccine.

Read the PIL for the VARILRIX chickenpox vaccine.

Monitoring safety of vaccines

In the UK, the safety of vaccines is monitored through the Yellow Card Scheme regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Commission on Human Medicines. 

Most reactions reported through the Yellow Card Scheme have been minor, such as redness and swelling at the injection site, rashes, fever, and vomiting.

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect.

Page last reviewed: 31/03/2016

Next review due: 31/03/2018


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