Like some other vaccines, it is possible that you could develop a rash after getting the chickenpox vaccine.
Rash After the Chickenpox Vaccine
So what does this rash mean?
“It is possible for a vaccinated person to develop a rash. If this happens, the varicella vaccine virus could be spread to an unprotected person. Anyone who gets a rash should stay away from people with a weakened immune system and infants until the rash goes away.”Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine – Vaccine Information Statement
Since it is a live vaccine, theoretically, it means that someone who isn’t immune to chickenpox could catch the attenuated strain of chickenpox from this rash.
The rash, especially if it is a vesicular rash at the injection site could be a sign of breakthrough varicella.
“Transmission of varicella vaccine virus is a rare event, and appears to occur only when the vaccinated person develops a vesicular rash. A maculopapular rash 2 weeks after varicella vaccine may not have been caused by the vaccine. If the rash were caused by the vaccine, the risk of transmission is very small; however, the child should avoid close contact with people who do not have evidence of varicella immunity and who are at high risk of complications of varicella, such as immunocompromised people, until the rash has resolved.”Ask the Experts about Chickenpox
Fortunately, it is very rare for that to happen.
And sometimes it isn’t even the vaccine, but regular chickenpox when a child develops a rash shortly after getting the chickenpox vaccine.
Were they recently around someone with chickenpox?
“The only way to determine whether the rash is caused by wild-type varicella or vaccine virus is to try to isolate virus from the rash and send it to a laboratory that is capable of differentiating wild and vaccine-type virus. This is generally not practical.”Ask the Experts about Chickenpox
What is the rash like?
“Approximately 4% of children receiving varicella vaccine develop a generalized rash with a median of 5 lesions 5–26 days postvaccination, and 4% develop a localized rash at the injection site with a median of 2 lesions 8–19 days postvaccination. The rash may be atypical in appearance (maculopapular with no vesicles).”Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
How long after being vaccinated did your child get the rash?
“Rashes occurring within 2 weeks of or more than 42 days after vaccination are more likely to be wild-type virus, and rashes occurring 15–42 days postvaccination are more likely to be vaccine-type virus.”Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
And because rashes are common, can you think of anything else that might be causing the rash?
Does anyone else that your child has been around have a similar rash?
“Approximately 2% of children who received a placebo in the clinical trials also developed generalized rashes, some of which were varicella-like, indicating that not all rashes following vaccination are attributable to the vaccine.”Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
Yes, it could be a coincidence that your child developed a rash after being vaccinated, with the rash instead being caused by insect bites, scabies, poison ivy, or impetigo, etc.
Is it your child’s first or second dose of the chickenpox vaccine? True vaccine rashes are more common after the first dose.
Still, if you aren’t sure what is causing the rash, you should likely blame the chickenpox vaccine, as you don’t want your child to expose anyone to chickenpox, even the attenuated strain. And consider reporting the rash to VAERS.
What to Know About Rashes After the Chickenpox Vaccine
If your child develops a vesicular rash after getting the chickenpox vaccine, keep it covered and keep them away from anyone who isn’t immune to chickenpox.
More on Vaccine Rashes
- Reporting to VAERS
- Rash After the MMR – Is This Normal?
- Where Are the Latest Chickenpox Outbreaks?
- Should I Blame the Vaccine If I’m Sick and I Just Got Vaccinated?
- Side Effects and Adverse Events Following Immunizations
- How Long Do Side Effects of Immunizations Last?
- Vaccine Injuries vs Coincidences
- FDA – Varivax package insert
- Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine – Vaccine Information Statement
- Ask the Experts about Chickenpox
- CDC – Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- Study – Live Attenuated Varicella Virus Vaccine. Efficacy Trial in Healthy Children
- IOM – Adverse Effects of Vaccines Evidence and Causality