Holiday Traveller

What is Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccination?

Varicella (Chickenpox) is a highly contagious acute viral disease caused by the Varicella virus. Chickenpox is generally a mild disease in children with a generalised vesicular rash and fever. Complications can occur, such as secondary skin infections, pneumonia and encephalitis. Adults are at higher risk of more serious disease and complications. Reactivation of the virus in nerve endings in later life can result in Herpes zoster, commonly known as Shingles. 


Where is it found?

Chickenpox is endemic in all countries.

Risk to travellers

For travellers, the risk of chickenpox could be as high in developed countries as in developing ones. Few countries routinely use the vaccine, but coverage is increasing. Non-immune adults and children should consider vaccination, especially those planning extended stays or extensive travel.

Chickenpox Vaccination

What is Varicella Vaccination?



•  Live, attenuated virus vaccine. (Should not be given to persons who are immune compromised, to pregnant women or those planning pregnancy. Pregnancy should be avoided for 28 days after vaccination.)


•  1 dose for children under 14 years, routinely given at 18 months of age in combination with measles mumps and rubella, as part of the national immunisation schedule.

•  A second dose is recommended to prevent break-through infections; however it is not part of the national immunisation schedule

•  2 doses 1-2 months apart for individuals over 14 years and adults.

Level of protection

  • Vaccine efficacy is estimated to be 90% against infection and 95% against severe infection.

Possible Side effects

•  Pain and swelling at site of infection in 7 to 30% of persons.

•  Mild, chickenpox-like rash in 5% of recipients (usually fewer than 5 lesions)lasting less than 1 week.

•  Fever in 10-15% of healthy children and adults.

More information on Chickenpox (Varicella) is available during your pre-travel consultation with Travelvax.

Call 1300 360 164 for the location of the clinic nearest to you.