Varilrix vaccine (Varicella or Chickenpox vaccine)

Varilrix Vaccine   (Varicella or Chickenpox vaccine)

Varilrix vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine for chickenpox disease. It is used to prevent chickenpox disease.

It contains Varicella zoster virus live attenuated OKA strain propagated in MRC5 human diploid cells. It is available as a lyophilized freeze dried powder form.

Additionally it contains lactose, sorbitol, mannitol, amino acids and human albumin.

Vaccine contains trace amounts of neomycin.

A pre-filled syringe contains sterile water for injection IP.

How is the Varilrix vaccine available?

Varilrix vaccine is available in a packet that contains a syringe containing sterile water and a vial containing lyophilized powder dried powder. A vial contains a lyophilized freeze dried powder that contains live attenuated Varicella zoster virus OKA strain > 2000 PFU. Another vial contains sterile water for injection for dilution. The contents should be stored in a packet to protect it from light.

How is the Varilrix vaccine stored?

Varilrix vaccine is stored at 2-8 degree Celsius. The temperature range was maintained using a cold chain. The temperature range should be maintained at all stages of the storage and transportation. The expired vaccine should not be used and discarded as per biomedical waste management protocol.

How is the Varilrix vaccine given?

Varilrix vaccine is given by injection subcutaneous route. All the safety injection protocols should be followed while giving injection.

The sterile water for injection first sucked into the sterile syringe. It is mixed into the lyophilized powder and agitated gently to mix the contents into a uniform solution.

This solution is again sucked back to the syringe.

The needle is changed for subcutaneous injection. The injection is given subcutaneously in the deltoid region.

The spirit used to clean the skin should be totally evaporated before giving injection.

The contact of sterilizers should be avoided while mixing the contents to the vial.

The used disposables should be discarded as per biomedical waste management protocol guidelines.

At what age is the Varilrix vaccine given?

In routine immunization this Varilrix vaccine is given at age more than 12 months 2 doses of 0.5 ml subcutaneous at least 3 months apart.

Generally it is given at age 12 months and 4-5 years.

For adolescents and adults Varilrix vaccines can be given 2 doses 0.5 ml 4-8 weeks apart.

What are side effects after Varilrix vaccination?

  • Varilrix vaccine is given to protect from chickenpox disease. Side effects are very few and usually milder than the disease.
  • Fever may occur in less than 5 percent of those who get Varilrix vaccine. It can be mild to moderate grade and can be managed at home with oral medications paracetamol and sponging. It may last 1-3 days.
  • Papulovesicular eruptions like chickenpox may occur in less than 4 percent of those who got a vaccine. These are usually milder and less lin number and usually last for a short duration.
  • Like all other vaccines this vaccine can cause allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, the facility where the injection is given should be equipped with drugs and skilled personnel to manage the anaphylactic reaction.
  • Injection site pain and swelling with redness may occur in some patients. It usually subsides on its own or with local cold compression.
  • Diarrhea, Abdominal pain and vomiting may occur if some patients are usually manageable at home with oral rehydration solution and decreases in some time.
  • Joint and muscle limb pain may occur after vaccination for a few days.
  • Headache, nervousness and irritability may commonly occur after vaccination is usually managed at home.
  • Few patients may experience cough, running nose and throat pain after vaccination.
  • There may be conjunctivitis like redness of eyes after vaccination.
  • This is not the complete list of side effects some uncommon side effects can be there. Follow your doctor’s advice before taking the dose.

How does the Varilrix vaccine work?

Varilrix vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine. It is used to protect from chickenpox disease. This vaccine contains live Varicella zoster virus OKA strain. This is a live virus but not capacity to cause disease. This virus resembles the actual chickenpox causing the virus. When this vaccine is injected this virus infects the person who got the injection. It multiplies inside the body of the hosts. Then host immunity recognizes the virus and produces an immune mechanism to fight against it. In the process, the immune mechanism also produces the memory to fight the virus. When real infection occurs with disease causing virus the immune system ramps up the mechanism to fight the virus rapidly and the chickenpox disease is prevented.

This is an active form of immunization in which hosts themselves develop immunity inside the body against this virus.

To whom Varilrix vaccine should not be given?

There are few contraindication for this vaccination like any other vaccination:

  • Do not give this vaccine who are severely immunocompromised like those on radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
  • Do not give this vaccine to patients who have undergone transplant and are on immunosuppressant drugs.
  • Do not give this vaccine to those who are on high dose steroids.
  • Do not give this vaccine to those who are suffering from stage 3 and stage 4 HIV AIDS.
  • Do not give this drugs to those who are suffering from malignancies like leukemia.
  • Do not give this vaccine to those who are pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Do not give this vaccine below age 1 years.
  • Do not give this vaccine to those who had previously got Hepatitis A disease.
  • If a patient is known allergic to any of the components of this vaccine, avoid this vaccine.
  • Patients who had got anaphylaxis at the time of the previous vaccine should avoid the same vaccine in the future.

Warnings With Varilrix vaccination:

  • This virus can rarely spread from host to other person so the close contact with pregnant and immunosuppressed people should be avoided for 2-3 weeks.
  • The facility which is giving vaccination should be readily equipped with skilled personnel and drugs to manage anaphylaxis reaction.
  • The contact of spirits and sterilizers should be avoided to the vials.
  • The spirit applied before injection to skin should be completely evaporated.
  • Live attenuated vaccines are not recommended during epidemic seasons.
  • Use the vaccine as soon as possible after reconstitution.
  • Do not administer the vaccine in case of incomplete dissolution, cracked vial and if the label is not clear.
  • The patient should be observed for any allergic reaction for at least 30 minutes after injection.



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