Chicken Pox Vacccine

Updated on September 13, 2014
T.D. asks from Naples, FL
26 answers

I am currently pregnant and looking into pediatricians. When did a chicken pox vaccine come to be mandatory for school entry? And did anyone who gave it to their child have any reactions?If yes what were they?

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So What Happened?

No end result yet,but I appreciate all the feedback I have gotten I have found it all really helpful. I know I have options and I was leaning toward it being a real deal breaker for a pediatrician if he did not let me opt out this one. Now I feel it is more important to find a pediatrician I really like and trust, plus I have 2.5-3 yrs before I need to worry too much about this vaccine. Thanks again to everyone.

Featured Answers


answers from Portland on

I don't know when it became mandatory, but mine got hers years and years ago.
Perfectly safe and fine.
Not so much as a fever or a lump or anything.
She has had every single one of her vaccines, and all on time, with zero problems.
Also, I would rather her have a low grade short term fever than catch the measles outbreak going on right now.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

All three of my kids had the chicken pox vaccine in the 90s when it was brand new, and a booster shot in middle school. No problems at all with any of them, and no chicken pox either.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

My children have never had a reaction beyond a mild fever with any of their vaccines. It became mandatory because, as we all know, it is highly contagious even before the spots show up.

It is important to know that you can still get the pox with the vaccine, just usually a much milder and shorter lived case.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

I had chicken pox when I was about 6.
It's a totally miserable disease and to this day I have a few scars from it (I'm 52).
I had pox everywhere - arms, legs, torso(front and back), in my mouth, in my ears, on my scalp and face, etc.
My Mom just put us in the bath tub and slathered the calamine lotion on everywhere - it did not help with the itching at all.
For some people it can be deadly.
We had our son vaccinated and he's had his boosters and so far he's been chicken pox free!
If there's anything that might keep him from going through the misery I went through - I'm totally for it.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Both got it. No issues. So thankful they don't have to go through the misery (and potential horrible complications) that I had to go through as a kid. Why would some seek out that misery for their kiddos (i.e., chicken pox parties)?

I had the chickenpox twice (once at infant, once on my 10-year birthday) and recently had a mild (thankfully) case of the shingles. Even a mild case hurts a lot, so I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Both of my children have the vaccine and did not have any issues with it. I got chicken pox as a middle-schooler and it was absolutely miserable. I don't understand the school of thought that believes that it is good to get these diseases early in life. Why would you wish that kind of misery on your child?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My son got it and didn't have any problems

I got the chicken pox when I was 30, yes 30; exactly 21 days after my 51 year old co-worker came down with it(yes chickenpox, not shingles at 51)....Neither one of us were happy campers...BTW: My coworker wound up in the hospital for a few days and was out for a couple of weeks or so.

Congrats on your new baby!!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

All 3 of mine have had the chicken pox vaccine and had no problems or reactions to it.
I still remember when I had the chicken pox. I was 4, maybe 5. I gave them to my baby brother. I was absolutely miserable. I still have scars from them in a few places.
Kids can still get chicken pox after getting the vaccine, my niece did. But it is a much milder case of it and it runs it's course a whole lot faster than if they didn't have the vaccine.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Varicella became mandatory in many areas about 7 years ago. When it first became available, it was just one shot, but it was found that a booster series was needed. That's why you'll hear many complaints about "We got the shot, but my kid still got chicken pox!" My own children were vaccinated when it was one shot and both ended up with a very mild case of chicken pox (2-3 blisters, low grade fever, lethargy). They stayed home until the blisters scabbed over and went back to school without any complications.

The most common reaction to any vaccine is soreness at the site.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't know if it is mandatory here. We aren't generally vaccine averse. Further, if there is an outbreak on the horizon, or a known vector for contagion, we inquire, and if within tolerance, vaccinate early.

We had our kid get another dose of MMR when Measles was running through the city in Spring 2014. Also, we had another dose of CP vaccine when my mother had the shingles.

My kid didn't have a reaction to either. For that matter, we've been lucky and he hasn't had a reaction to any to date.

F. B.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I do not know when it became a requirement here. I don't think they give this vaccine until a child is around 2 so you have a while to think about it and do your research.

My daughter, now 19, got the vaccine when it was relatively new around age 2. No side effects or issues.

Move forward, until she was 10, we had just come home from a vacation and had a rash. Pox did not cross my mind because she had the vaccine and I sent her to school not knowing until the nurse called me and scolded me that she just exposed everybody to chicken pox. She had a very mild case of chicken pox.

I thought the vaccine was good for life, NOT. I do know now the Dr's require a booster about 8-10 yrs after the initial vaccine. I would gladly have done that but like I said, we were one of the early ones to be vaccinated and it was unknown at the time that a booster would be needed.

In any case, she had the shot, pox, no booster and hopefully no shingles when she gets older. I have no regrets about the vaccine... The ONLY vaccines we do not do are the yearly flu and the Guardisil.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

All my kids get all the vaccines and nothing bad has ever happened.

(My oldest is age 6, by then they've been introduced to all of them except the HPV one they are doing at age 11)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't know when it became mandatory. But both my kids got it, and no issues.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Both of my kids have had the vaccine. My son did end up with several chicken pox looking spots and when I researched it I found that it is pretty rare that they get the rash but they are infectious and need to stay away from people with weakened immune systems. There were only 5-10 on his belly and back. I think both got mild fevers for a day but they did that with any vaccine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Not sure about when it became mandatory for school, but my daughter who will be 15 in 11 days was among the first kids to get vaccinated for it at around a year old (if memory serves me correctly). She did have a bit of a reaction, as did her younger sister when she was vaccinated. They got a rash over their torsos which went away within a couple days and was not itchy or anything. However, they are both allergic to penicillin and any antibiotic that is derived from it, so I don't know if that allergy had anything to do with the rash. I understand that it's a normal reaction.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It's been at least 11 years because my 16-year-old was required to have it to start kindergarten. My daughter had no reactions. My older daughter (26) had chicken pox and was almost hospitalized because she was so sick. And she has the scars to prove it to this day.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

The school likes you to think it's "mandatory" but it isn't. No vaccine is. There is a form you can sign for "religious reasons" (unless you have a medical reason then the doc needs to sign) on why you are waiving the shots and they will accept it. But be prepared for a long lecture from the school nurse when you do. lol Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

My oldest got the vaccine. And then she got the Chicken Pox like 6 months later. A nasty case. I didn't bother with the other two getting the vaccine. The school never bugged me about it. They did require all the others though. But you can also opt out if you figure out the mumbo jumbo on opting out...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son got the vaccine and several days later had full blown chicken pox. My pediatrician said it was just a reaction to the vaccine. I don't understand that as he had pox all over his body, felt miserable, and had a high fever for a few days. I opted out for my other children.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It became mandatory in the late 1990s. But, like you I was concerned about the vaccine and not getting the "real" chicken pox, especially since my nephew had the shot and still got it too. When our pediatrician wanted to give it to my kiddos I was against it until he explained that if kids get the vaccine, then they won't get Shingles later in life. And, he told us in really vivid detail what it looked like because his grandma had just gone through it. He said that if kids don't get chicken pox, which most of them who get the vaccine won't, then they won't have the virus lying dormant in their bodies, so they can't get shingles later.

After thinking it over, and looking into how bad shingles can be, especially when a person is older and generally not up to going through a severe virus in the same way a kid would, we decided to go ahead and vaccinate.

Since you are just now pregnant you don't have to decide for a while so I would suggest that you do some of your own research so that you can make a good educated decision for yourself and your baby. It is not one of the newborn vaccines they get in the hospital or even the 2 month round.

I hope that gives you a different take on why we did it. I am certainly not a believer in doing what everyone else is doing, or even what the doctor says without looking into it first. I would never let my kids get more than 2 shots at a time because I think it is too overwhelming for the immune system and body to get them all at once. This did mean more trips to the doctor, but it was much easier to see what they had a reaction to if they had one. Thankfully, mine haven't had any yet.

Congrats on the new baby!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

The vaccine is NOT mandatory. It only lasts 10 years so it will be something that your child will have to keep up for life or just get chicken pox like the rest of us. Someone said if you get chicken pox as an adult you are more likely to get Shingles later. If you EVER have chicken pox, the virus is there and Shingles is a possibility. My husband never had CP and with a few supplements we were able to keep it at bay while my children had it full force. You DONT have to catch it and if you do, it can be managed.

You're the parent. Don't let the school system get the best of you!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Both of my kids have had it. Neither one had any reaction except for a mild fever for a day. I remember having chicken pox in 3rd grade. I had a pretty mild case and remember being miserable. I used to babysit for a little boy who got chicken pox, had to go to the hospital, had complications, and ended up permanently disabled.

This is why I didn't hesitate to get the vaccine for my kids. This is from the Center for Disease Control website:

Chickenpox used to be very common in the United States. In the early 1990s, an average of 4 million people got varicella, 10,500 to 13,000 were hospitalized (range, 8,000 to 18,000), and 100 to 150 died each year. In the 1990s, the highest rate of varicella was reported in preschool-aged children.

Chickenpox vaccine became available in the United States in 1995. In 2010, 90% of children 19 to 35 months old in the United States had received one dose of varicella vaccine, varying from 72% to 97% by state and city. Among adolescents 13 to 17 years of age without a prior history of disease, 90% had received 1 dose of varicella vaccine, and 58% had received 2 doses of the vaccine.

Each year, more than 3.5 million cases of varicella, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths are prevented by varicella vaccination in the United States.
Varicella incidence in 26 states, which had adequate and consistent reporting to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS), declined by 45% from 2000 to 2005 with an additional 77% decline from 2006 to 2010 after the second dose of varicella vaccine was recommended. Overall, varicella declined 82% from 2000 to 2010.

National hospitalization rates for varicella declined overall by 71% during 2000 to 2006 compared with rates from 1988 to 1995. In people younger than 20 years of age, hospitalization rates declined by approximately 95%.
Varicella deaths declined by 98.5% in children and adolescents less than 20 years of age during 2008 to 2009 compared with 1990 to 1994. Deaths declined by 96% in adults less than 50 years of age and by 49% in adults 50 years of age or older.

Varicella incidence among HIV-infected children declined 63% during 2000-2007 compared to 1989-1999.

Varicella vaccination provides indirect benefits to people who are not eligible for vaccination. Varicella incidence among infants, a group not eligible for varicella vaccination, declined by 90% from 1995 to 2008.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Not sure when it became mandatory but my youngest who was born in 1997 got vaccinated. If I remember correctly, I think you can sign a waiver if you absolutely do not want your child to get the vaccination. I mean the school CANNOT MAKE you vaccinate your child if it goes against religious reasons. I know a lot of families who do not vaccinate which is clearly their choice but all my kids have been vaccinated and have had absolutely no problems. The only vaccination I will not allow my 17 year old to get is the Gardasil (HPV vaccine). I just don't think they have done much research on this vaccination and so I do not feel comfortable letting her get this one done. When she is 18 she can chose whether or not she wants it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

It is required for school in many states. The first dose is given at 1 year and the 2nd dose at 4 years. I had chicken pox as a kid and it was miserable. If I could have had the vaccine instead, I would have in a heartbeat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't know if it is mandatory in my area, but both my kids were vaccinated, and both still contracted chicken pox. Pretty mild cases, but they still had to miss school. No side effects from the vaccine, though.

Perhaps the efficacy of the vaccine has improved since then, this was back in the late '90s.


answers from Dover on

I had CP twice...once as a toddler (mild case) and again in 4th grade (severe case)....that was way before the vaccine.

My son was born in 1991 and it was NOT required. Later, it was added to the requirements so when we moved from MD to DE, when he was entering 6th grade, they called me because he hadn't had it. They said he had a week to get it. I explained to them that he had CP when he was 8 months old, had a severe case (even scaring) and they waived the requirement when the dr provided a note that backed up my statement.

The CP vaccine will not prevent getting the virus. It will lessen the severity if your child gets it. Because it is a lesser case, it increases the chance of contracting it again...therefore my son's immunity is a much better protection than what my younger daughter has with the vaccine.

She did not have any reactions or problems so we'll see how it goes.



answers from Tampa on

I know you have gotten a lot of answers, but I felt I should chime it. My sister and I had the chicken pox when were were quite young. My sister, who is 50, has had shingles 2 times! I have not had it. My daughter didn't have the chicken pox until she was 16, and she only got a couple of dots (like 20 on her leg!) I did NOT give her the vaccine. Also, when they give you a vaccine, you can still get the chicken pox, and the vaccine is the chicken pox! Granted it is the dead virus, but just like all vaccines, you are making yourself immune by actually getting it put in your body! So telling people that they will never get shingles is ridiculous! They just want to try to get rid of chicken pox because it is INCONVENIENT! I feel childhood sicknesses are part of being a mom. I am also not saying that shingles in not bad! My sister has it as I am writing this to you! But, with the shingles vaccine, you have a 50% chance of still getting shingles, and without the vaccine you still have 50% chance of getting shingles. Why put something in your body or your child's body for those kind of odds. Also, I am not against vaccinations, my children have most of them, just not the ones that they don't need! Just one mom's opinion. Good Luck!

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