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Chicken Pox Immunity: How Long It Lasts

How long does the vaccine for chickenpox last, and should it be given again in adulthood?

Immunity following the chickenpox vaccine lasts for at least 20 years. However, there are cases of chickenpox in children who have been given the vaccine. These cases are called breakthrough cases and are almost always mild and short lasting.

There isn’t enough information at this time to know if booster doses would prevent these breakthrough cases. It is possible that the recommendations will change.

There is currently a trial going on to study whether a dose of the chickenpox vaccine given to 50-year-olds who had chickenpox as children will prevent shingles. The chickenpox virus can live in the nerve cells of a person, become active again, and cause shingles, a very painful rash. The trial is not yet completed.

Stay tuned for the results and any follow-up vaccine recommendations.

Last Updated
Immunizations & Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent's Guide (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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