Since its introduction in the mid-1990s, the chickenpox vaccine has become part of standard immunizations for children. Some people have asked why give a vaccine for a “benign condition” that we all went through as children.
It must be noted however that what was benign for me may not be so much for everyone else. The CDC notes that before widespread use of the chickenpox (Varicella) vaccine there were over 3.5 million cases, 9000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths from chickenpox each year! This doesn’t count the economic cost, of parents having to miss work to care for an ill child. Besides seeing less cases, with immunization, we would expect to see less shingles in this patient group as it gets older. and so far that appears to be the case. Of course, we are hoping that the current two vaccination strategy will give lifelong immunity, as we do not want to have adults develop chickenpox. This concern is a reminder that there are always challenges and issues to ponder in medicine. If you have any questions on this or any other topic in medicine, feel free to give our office a call. We’re here five days a week, from 8 AM to 5 PM!
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