What is the varicella vaccine?
The varicella vaccine protects against the virus that causes varicella infection (chickenpox).
Vaccines can provide protection against a single disease, or can be made to provide protection against more than one disease. Vaccines that provide protection against more than one disease are called combined vaccines.
Varicella vaccine is available in both combined and single vaccine formats. The vaccine you receive depends on your age, your vaccine requirements and the specific vaccine products that are currently available.
Vaccines commonly used:
Who should get the varicella vaccine?
In general, everyone should get this vaccine. It is given in childhood. It is important to receive the vaccine at the right time. To find out more about when children need the varicella vaccine, see to the Ontario Immunization Schedule (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)
Who should not get the varicella vaccine?
- People who have had a serious allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine or to a previous dose of the vaccine itself should not receive the varicella vaccine.
- Women should not be vaccinated with this vaccine while they are pregnant.
Your health care provider will ask you questions about your health before giving you any vaccine. This will help them identify allergies you might have and to safely manage potential allergic reactions.
What are the possible side effects of the varicella vaccine?
You could have mild side effects after being vaccinated, but they usually go away in one to two days. Some people can be allergic to the vaccine, just like they might have a food or medication allergy.
Learn more about common vaccine side effects and what to do about them.
Is the varicella vaccine required to attend school, daycare or to work in certain settings?
Yes. In Ontario, this vaccine is required by all children to attend school and licensed daycare. Learn more about the vaccinations that are required.
You might also need to get this vaccine to work in certain workplaces such as in health care, child care and other settings.
Children attending school or daycare
- Parents and guardians must also report the vaccinations to Public Health to keep their records up-to-date.
- Exemptions: signed statements must be submitted for vaccination exemptions based on medical reasons or reasons of conscience or religious belief.
- Access and update your immunization records.
What else should you know about the varicella vaccine?
This vaccine is publicly funded for certain individuals and available at cost for others. Anyone who meets the publicly funded criteria may get the vaccine for free, no matter where they get it in Ontario (in a hospital, walk-in clinic, health care provider’s office or public health unit).
For a list of publicly funded vaccines in Ontario, see the Ontario Immunization Schedule.
Risks and benefits:
Talk to your health care provider about getting vaccinated if you have special health conditions or concerns. Learn more about special considerations before being vaccinated.
Where can you get the varicella vaccine?
- Public Health offers this vaccine at one of our immunization clinics.
- You may also be able to get vaccinated at your doctor’s office, a walk-in clinic or community health centre. Appointments may be required.
For more information:
- Contact us.
- See our frequently asked questions or send us your question.
- See our list of helpful websites for information about vaccination.