• Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Vaccine Recommendations

I understand that varicella vaccine can be used in postexposure settings. How soon after exposure does the vaccine need to be administered?

Varicella vaccine is most effective in preventing chickenpox or reducing the severity of the disease if used within 72 hours (3 days), and may still be helpful up to 5 days after exposure. However, not every exposure to varicella leads to infection, so for future immunity, varicella vaccine should be given to a person age 12 months or older who does not have a contraindication to vaccination, even if more than 5 days have passed since an exposure.

Last reviewed: May 16, 2023

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