There’s chickenpox about – do you know you need TWO doses of the vaccine to prevent it?
Chickenpox is a highly contagious virus that causes an itchy, blistery rash and can make you feel pretty miserable. It is usually a mild illness but rarely (about 1% of the time), you can get complications such as pneumonia and brain inflammation.
One dose of the chickenpox vaccine is a part of the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (given at 18 months) – this prevents the rare but serious complications BUT just this dose doesn’t stop chickenpox entirely. You can still catch (usually a much milder version of) the virus when it is going around – which is what we are seeing at local schools and child care centres currently. To completely prevent your kids (and adults if they aren’t immune) from getting it, you need to have a second, booster dose. This requires getting a prescription from your GP, getting the vaccine from the chemist and then having it administered. Yep, it’s a hassle, but honestly, chickenpox going through your family is worse!
Note – If you are checking your child’s immunisation schedule, chickenpox’s proper name is Varicella. The dose on the schedule is given at 18 months in combination with Measles, Mumps and Rubella.