Varicella Zoster Immunoglobulin (VZIG) guidance
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. 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 four times a day from day 7 to 14).