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Chickenpox. Got one shot of chickenpox vaccine. Is it necessary to take another vaccine before conception?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1979
Answered : 624 Questions


I recently found out that 2 of my female colleagues
have caught chicken-pox.

1. Along with myself, I am worried about my wife's susceptibility to catching chicken-pox.
My wife is 28 years old and had a chicken-pox vaccine 4 years back but she
got only one shot of the vaccine (not 2 shots as some doctors recommend).
As we are planning to have a baby in near future- so considering that, should my
wife get the remaining shot of chicken-pox vaccine before conception, that she did not get while getting vaccinated
for the first time ?

2. If yes, how many shots of vaccine may be needed to build immunity to chicken-pox
before conception ? After vaccination, how many months do we need to wait
before trying to conceive ?

3. My wife has normal good health but are there any medical conditions which prohibit taking chicken-pox vaccine ?

Posted Wed, 30 May 2012 in Pregnancy
Answered by Dr. Chandra Shekhar Sharma 2 hours later
Thanks for writing in.

Due to infection with chickenpox during child hood, 90% of adults are immune to chicken pox. Thus if you and your wife have suffered with chicken pox during childhood, both of you must be already immune to chickenpox.

If both of you, neither suffered with chickenpox, nor inoculated with two doses of chickenpox vaccine during childhood, get yourself vaccinated with two doses 4-8 weeks apart as early as possible. This vaccine is mostly effective if given within three days of exposure. 78% of adults develop immunity with single dose, while 99% adults develop immunity with two doses.
(1)     If your wife has suffered with this disease during childhood, she should receive one dose of vaccine; otherwise she should be given two doses, as 2nd dose is required to be given within 4 to 8 weeks, & 4 years gap is a big gap.

(2)     As possible effects of chickenpox vaccine on fetal development are not known, women trying to conceive should not receive this vaccine. Thus she should not try to conceive for a couple of months after 2nd dose. For exact period you should discuss it with her Gynecologist.

(3)     Peoples with weak immunity system due to any disease and known allergic to this vaccine should not be given this vaccine.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have further question, I will be available, but if you don't require any further clarification, please close the discussion & rate the answer.
With good wishes,
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