Guidance

Varicella: the green book, chapter 34

Varicella immunisation information for public health professionals, including updates.

Documents

Varicella: the green book, chapter 34

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Green Book Chapter 34 Patch

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Details

Varicella zoster Immunoglobulin (VZIG) is a scarce blood product that is offered to individuals at high risk of severe chickenpox following an exposure. This includes immunosuppressed individuals, young babies in their first week of life and pregnant women. VZIG is centrally procured and issued by Public Health England (PHE). When supplies of VZIG have been short in the past, restrictions have been placed on its use in pregnant women.

In response to a significant shortage of VZIG due to manufacturing issues, from 6 July 2018, VZIG will only be issued to susceptible pregnant women who have had a significant exposure to chickenpox or shingles in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This urgent advice has been considered and agreed between PHE experts and the chair of the JCVI varicella subcommittee. This group have also advised that, based on extensive safety evidence, pregnant women who are exposed after 20 weeks, should be offered the oral anti-viral drug, aciclovir (800mg 4 times a day from day 7 to 14).

Chapter 34 update patches

Varicella (chickenpox) is an acute, highly infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus.

Published 20 March 2013
Last updated 10 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added details of VZIG restrictions due to shortage.
  2. Updated the contraindications and precautions sections for varicella.
  3. Updated the Body text to include a link to National Archives (chapter update patches) and NHS Choices.
  4. First published.