Superdrug has become the first retailer on the British high street to offer a chickenpox vaccination.
Currently the jab is not part of the NHS routine childhood immunisation schedule, so in most cases you have to pay if you want your child to have it.
But once a child has contracted chickenpox naturally, they have immunity for life, so many parents choose to wait it out.
What is chickenpox?
According to NHS Choices, chickenpox is a common illness that mainly affects children and causes an itchy, spotty rash. Most children will catch chickenpox at some point. It can also occur in adults who didn’t have it when they were a child.
What causes chickenpox?
Chickenpox is caused by a virus that spreads very easily to people who haven’t had it before. If you have had it before, you’ll usually be immune for life.
Can you be vaccinated after being exposed to chickenpox?
The NHS says if you have been exposed to the chickenpox virus the vaccine may still successfully prevent symptoms if you are vaccinated within three days of initial exposure.
How does the chickenpox vaccine work?
It is linked to a group of vaccines referred to as ‘live’ vaccines meaning that it contains a weakened version of the virus that causes chickenpox.
So for healthy people this causes your immune system to react to the vaccine, resulting in you developing immunity against chickenpox, if you are exposed to the virus at a later date.
Who can get the chickenpox jab for free on the NHS?
The injection is currently only available on the NHS for those who are at high risk of spreading the virus to particularly vulnerable people. This includes people with weakened immune systems (as a result of HIV or treatments like chemotherapy), or non-immune healthcare workers.
Where can you buy the vaccine?
The chickenpox vaccine will be available in 58 of Superdrug’s nurse and pharmacist Health Clinic stores across the UK. You can find your nearest store using their location tool.
How much does the vaccination cost?