The chickenpox vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine that is one of the standard vaccines administered in childhood and is the main reason that I rarely encounter chickenpox in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices. Children under age 12 need a single dose and older children and adults require two vaccinations 1-2 months apart. The vaccination should be done after age 15 months, since it is less effective before this age. 5% of children get a skin rash a the site of the innoculation two days later and a generalized rash can occasionally occur 1 to 3 weeks later. If an unvaccinated child is exposed to chickenpox and vaccinated within 36 hours, prevention of severe blistering chickenpox is almost 100%. Vaccinated children almost never get severe chickenpox although they may become infected with a milder version of chickenpox so scarring almost never occurs. Modified Varicella- Like Syndrome (MVLS) is the name for the milder version of chickenpox that occurs in vaccinated children. Most of the skin lesions in MVLS are macules and papules and almost never vesicles/blisters. The typical course of MVLS is 5 days and the patients are usually afebrile. In MVLS, the number of skin lesions is around 50, whereas in normal chickenpox the number of skin lesions is typically over 300.
October 19, 2010
Medically reviewed by Anthony J. Perri, M.D.
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