Varicella Vaccine

Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the several health professional organizations state thatvaccinesgiven to a nursing mother do not affect the safety of breastfeeding for mothers or infants and that breastfeeding is not a contraindication to varicellavaccine. Breastfed infants should be vaccinated according to the routine recommended schedules.[1][2][3]

Drug Levels:

Maternal Levels.

Two postpartum women immunized with varicellavaccineprovided preimmunization and serial postimmunization breastmilk samples (number not specified). One sample of colostrum contained detectable viral DNA andB-actin by polymerase chain reaction, but all other samples were negative for these species. No varicella gene sequences were found in any of the samples.[4]

One study of 12 women vaccinated with live, attenuated varicellavaccinefound no evidence of varicella virus excretion into breastmilk.[5]

Infant Levels.

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants:

Limited data indicate that breastfeeding can enhance the response of the infant to certainvaccineantigens.[1][3][6]

Possible Effects on Lactation:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.


1. General recommendations on immunization --- recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2011;60 (RR-2):1-64. PMID:21293327
2. Gruslin A, Steben M, Halperin S et al. Immunization in pregnancy: No. 220, December 2008. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009;105:187-91. PMID:19367691
3. Anon. Human milk. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Kimberlin DW, Long SS, eds. Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009.
4. Dolbear GL, Moffat J, Falkner C, Wojtowycz M. A pilot study: is attenuated varicella virus present in breast milk after postpartum immunization? Obstet Gynecol . 2003;101 (4 Suppl):47s. Abstract.
5. Bohlke K, Galil K, Jackson LA et al. Postpartum varicella vaccination: is thevaccinevirus excreted in breast milk? Obstet Gynecol. 2003;102:970-7. PMID:14672472
6. Pabst HF. Immunomodulation by breast-feeding. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1997;16:991-5. PMID:9380478

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