Do not administer VARIVAX to individuals with: a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine (including neomycin and gelatin) or to a previous dose of varicella vaccine; immunosuppressed or immunodeficient individuals, including those with a history of primary or acquired immunodeficiency states, leukemia, lymphoma, or other malignant neoplasms affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, AIDS, or receiving immunosuppressive therapy; any febrile illness or active infection, untreated tuberculosis; or those who are pregnant.
Evaluate individuals for immune competence prior to administration of VARIVAX if there is a family history of immunodeficiency. Vaccine recipients should avoid contact with high-risk individuals susceptible to varicella due to possible risk of transmission. Defer vaccination for ≥5 months following blood or plasma transfusions or administration of immune globulins. Avoid use of salicylates for 6 weeks following administration of VARIVAX to children and adolescents.
Frequently reported (≥10%) adverse reactions in children ages 1 to 12 years who were monitored for 42 days include: fever ≥102.0°F (38.9°C) oral: 14.7%; injection-site complaints: 19.3%. Frequently reported (≥10%) adverse reactions in adolescents and adults ages 13 years and older monitored for up to 42 days include: fever ≥100.0°F (37.8°C) oral: 10.2%; injection-site complaints: 24.4%. Other reported adverse reactions in all age groups include: varicella-like rash (injection site) and varicella-like rash (generalized).
In a clinical trial involving children who received 2 doses of VARIVAX 3 months apart, the incidence of injection-site clinical complaints (primarily erythema and swelling) observed in the first 4 days following vaccination was slightly higher post-dose 2 (overall incidence 25.4%) than post-dose 1 (overall incidence 21.7%), whereas the incidence of systemic clinical complaints in the 42-day follow-up period was lower post-dose 2 (66.3%) than post-dose 1 (85.8%).
There are insufficient data to assess the rate of protection of VARIVAX against the serious complications of chickenpox in adults (eg, encephalitis, hepatitis, pneumonia), and during pregnancy (congenital varicella syndrome).
The duration of protection from varicella infection after vaccination with VARIVAX is unknown. Vaccination with VARIVAX may not result in protection of all healthy, susceptible children, adolescents, and adults.
VARIVAX is contraindicated during pregnancy. If vaccination of postpubertal females is undertaken, pregnancy should be avoided for 3 months following vaccination. All exposures to VARIVAX during pregnancy or within 3 months prior to conception should be reported as suspected adverse reactions by contacting Merck at 1-877-888-4231 or VAERS at 1-800-822-7967 or www.vaers.hhs.gov.
Before administering VARIVAX® (Varicella Virus Vaccine Live), please read the accompanying Prescribing Information. The Patient Information also is available.