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NC Department of Health and Human Services
Women's and Children's Health Home
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North Carolina Immunization Branch

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Varicella (Chickenpox)

The Disease

Chickenpox is caused by infection with the varicella zoster virus, which causes fever and an itchy rash.  It is spread by coughing and sneezing (highly contagious), by direct contact, and by aerosolization of virus from skin lesions.

The Vaccine

The chickenpox vaccine can prevent this disease. Currently, two doses of vaccine are recommended for children, adolescents, and adults.

Who Should get Vaccinated?

All children and adults without evidence of immunity should receive the chickenpox vaccine.  Children should receive one dose of chickenpox vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age.

North Carolina Requirements

Two doses administered at least 28 days apart. One dose on or after 12 months of age and before age 19 months, and a second dose before entering school for the first time.

An individual with laboratory confirmation of varicella disease immunity or has been documented by serological testing to have a protective antibody titer against varicella is not required to receive varicella vaccine. An individual who has documentation from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant verifying history of varicella disease is not required to receive varicella vaccine. The documentation shall include the name of the individual with a history of varicella disease, the approximate date or age of infection, and a health care provider signature. Individuals born before April 1, 2001 are not required to receive varicella vaccine. The requirement for the second dose of varicella vaccine shall not apply to individuals who enter Kindergarten or first grade for the first time before July 1, 2015.

Additional Resources