I have had the chickenpox vaccine as an adult, but a recent blood test says I have no antibodies to chickenpox?

My doctor can't explain this. I know it must have worked at first as my child had chickenpox about a year after the vaccine and I didn't catch it. It's been about 5 years since I had the vaccine.

Now it's doing the rounds but because I have no antibodies to it will I catch it, even though I've been vaccinated?

1 Answer

  • BJC
    Lv 6
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Post-immunization serologic testing for immunity is not recommended for healthy children and adults, because of the high level of immunity conferred by the vaccine.

    Commercially available varicella (chickenpox) antibody tests, such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA), indirect immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) and latex agglutination (LA) DO NOT have sufficient sensitivity to detect antibody after vaccination, although they are useful for establishing immunity after wild-type infection (natural infection). Wild-type varicella infection induces antibody levels that are up to 10-fold higher than that obtained after vaccination.

    Cell-mediated immunity testing after immunization is also not recommended, as the test is not available in most laboratories and the results are difficult to interpret.

    Adults who previously received two doses of vaccine and who are inadvertently tested are likely to be immune to varicella if there is no detectable antibody by ELISA, IFA or LA tests.

    If commercially available antibody tests do not detect antibody after immunization, the more sensitive glycoprotein ELISA (gpELISA) test may be requested.

    But, the vaccine has a very high uptake rate (close to 98%) so the chances are you are protected.....but the tests commonly used to detect antibodies for other illnesses won't work with those vaccinated for Varicella....that doesn't mean you are not protected from the vaccine.

    Show this to your doctor and let him/her know that if s/he want to check you for varicella immunization status (post-vaccine) a gpELISA needs to be ordered (not available widely)

    Source(s): HIV/STI Prevention and Outreach Educator x 10 years (microbiology and immunology academic background)
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