What Varilrix is used for

Varilrix is a vaccine used to prevent and immunise against the varicella virus, which causes chickenpox in infants (from the age of 9 months), children, adolescents and adults.

Varicella, commonly known as chickenpox, is a highly infectious viral infection, caused by varicella zoster virus.

Sufferers usually experience a rash, fever, loss of appetite, headache and sore throat. The spots of the rash are initially flat and become blisters with fluid in them which eventually forms a crust.

Some groups of people are at a higher risk of exposure to the varicella virus. Vaccination is recommended for these people:

  • some healthcare workers
  • school teachers
  • people in contact with children
  • children who have working mothers.

The virus can be spread by patients with chickenpox or the herpes zoster virus. The virus is spread through the air or direct contact with the lesions or blisters. It can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her unborn child.

Vaccination is the best way to protect against infection in the longer term. The risk of complications and death are greater in people whose immunity is impaired by illness or by treatment with drugs known as immunosuppressants.

Varilrix will not protect a person if they are already infected with the varicella virus at the time of vaccination. Varilrix may not prevent the disease in these people.

Consumer Medicine Information on Varilrix.

Varilrix® (live attenuated varicella vaccine) is available as an injection.  Varilrix is a private-purchase prescription medicine for immunisation and prophylaxis against varicella (chickenpox) in adults and children older than 9 months. You will need to pay for this medicine.  Children aged 13 years and older need two doses with an interval between doses of at least 6 weeks. Two doses at least 6 weeks apart are also recommended for children aged between 9 months and 12 years, to provide optimal protection. Use strictly as directed.  Do not have a Varilrix injection if you are allergic to Varilrix or to the antibiotic neomycin, if you have a high fever, if you have a condition that causes lack of immunocompetence, or if you are pregnant.  Pregnancy should be avoided for 3 months after vaccination.  Tell your doctor before you have the vaccine if you have a lowered resistance to disease or have a severe chronic disease.  Common side effects: mild rash, a small number of chicken-pox-like blisters, or pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. Uncommon side effects include fever, headache, cough, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, and joint pain.  If you have any side effects, see your doctor, pharmacist, or health professional.  Additional Consumer Medicine Information for Varilrix is available at  Prices for Varilrix may vary across doctor's clinics.  Normal doctor's office visit fees apply.  Ask your doctor if Varilrix is right for you.

Varilrix is a trade mark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline NZ Limited, Auckland. TAPS DA89KH/08MY/066

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