An attenuated live virus vaccine is now available for immunizing persons susceptible to Varicella Zoster infection. Although long term followup data is still being collected, it appears to be effective in preventing serious infection in susceptible individuals.


Candidates for vaccination:

(1) all healthy susceptible persons >= 12 years of age

(2) all children should be routinely vaccinated at age 12-18 months

(3) all susceptible children age 19 months to 13 years should be vaccinated by their 13th birthday

(4) all susceptible adults who are close contacts of persons at high risk for serious complications, including health care workers and family contacts of immunocompromised persons

(5) all susceptible adults in contact with small children including teachers of young children and day care workers

(6) nonpregnant women of childbearing age

(7) other populations of susceptible adults: residents and staff in institutional settings, college students, inmates and staff of correctional institutions, military personnel, and international travelers


Susceptibility in an adult based on historical data only can be unreliable, as persons may give false positive or negative data. Measurement of anti-varicella antibodies can be used to document immunity



(1) immunocompromised persons, including those on systemic steroids


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