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Chicken Pox after Vaccine


chicken pox after vaccine

Is it possible for a vaccinated child to get chicken pox?  7 year old with itchy rash but no fever, and bumps keep showing up. First one near under arm and now these bumps across her back.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) first recommended the chicken pox vaccine (Varivax) in 1995. The AAP’s initial recommendation called for a single dose. A single dose of Varivax proved 85% effective in preventing all chicken pox cases and 100% effective in preventive severe cases. Unfortunately, cases of chicken pox, varicella, continued to spread in the community. In an effort to completely eradicate varicella disease the AAP began to recommend a second Varivax dose in 2007. The first dose is recommended at 12 to 15 months and the second dose recommended at 4 to 5 years old. The two dose schedule is 98.3% effective in preventing all cases of chicken pox.

The picture attached is certainly not classic for chicken pox disease. Classically, the lesions are described as a dew drop (blister) on a rose petal (red base). The post-vaccine chicken pox cases are typically very mild and produce few pox lesions. Wild type varicella cases average 250 lesions, while post-Varivax cases average only 50 pox. Was your daughter exposed to chicken pox in the last 3 weeks? I agree that chicken pox is a leading diagnosis, but I am uncertain. Did the lesions “dry up” and “crust over” as chicken pox cases should? Your daughter should see her doctor if the rash has not already resolved.


Follow up - One week later

She is doing much better one week later.  She ended up with about 20 "bumps" that were pimple-like and itchy and she had a low-grade fever (right at 100).  I checked for bed bugs in her bed but didn't see any evidence of them plus the red spots didn't have that welt appearance I saw online. She also had bumps all across her back that were colorless.  Since the red bumps formed a crust and her fever subsided, I figured it was okay to let her back out into the world yesterday.


see Varivax (the chicken pox immunization)

see pictures of varivax rash (rash from vaccine)

see pictures of chicken pox (disease


Written January 2013 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician



“Effectiveness of 2 Doses of Varicella Vaccine in Children”, Eugene D. Shapiro, Marietta Vazquez, Daina Esposito, Nancy Holabird, Sharon P. Steinberg, James Dziura, Philip S. LaRussa and Anne A. Gershon ,Yale University Dept of Pediatrics, P.O. Box 208064, 333 Cedar St, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8064

"Varicella Vaccine Effectiveness in the US Vaccination Program: A Review", Jane F. Seward , Mona Marin and Marietta Vázquez Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd., MS A-38, Atlanta, GA, 30333.






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