The chicken pox vaccine, more formally known as the varicella vaccine, was FDA licensed in the US in 1995. Kaiser Permanente Northern California has now published a 14 year study in Pediatrics of almost 7,600 children who got the vaccination between the age of 12 and 24 months in 1995. More than 2,800 of the children got a second follow-up dose between 2006-2009.
The results were impressive. The vaccinated children had a nine or ten-fold reduction in their rates of catching chicken pox, compared to children from before the vaccine was available. Most children who got the chicken pox even after vaccination got mild cases. Zero children got the chicken pox after receiving the second dose.
The doctors concluded, “One dose provided excellent protection against moderate to severe disease, and most [mild] cases occurred shortly after the cohort was vaccinated.” In fact, Kaiser Permanente said that the chicken pox vaccine is 90 percent effective as long as most children in the community get the vaccine.
As a result of the vaccine, only 28 children out of the 7,500 got a severe case of chicken pox. Prior to the vaccine, about 90 percent of children got the disease, and most of them experienced severe symptoms with more than 300 lesions all over their body.
That’s a lot of itchy and scratchy.
Despite the undeniable success of the vaccine, some parents are apparently still wary. Some people have even elected to bring their children to so-called chicken pox parties where they are exposed to children who already have the disease. Besides being much more likely to give the child a severe form of the disease, deliberately infecting kids with viruses happens to be illegal. Some common sense here?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has repeatedly performed studies analyzing the safety of childhood vaccines. A CDC study released Friday once again confirmed that getting the recommended vaccinations doesn’t increase the child’s risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder.
Don’t let health hoaxes and scare stories frighten your family away from the chicken pox vaccine.
[baby with chicken pox photo courtesy “ILJR” via Wikipedia Commons]