The Chicken Pox Vaccine: To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate
A review of the varicella vaccine
Is Chicken Pox Even Worth Preventing?
Since being licensed in 1995, the chicken pox, or varicella, vaccine has been administered to over 24 million Americans. During these six years, the incidence of chicken pox has fallen by over 80 percent!
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about the vaccine:
Is chicken pox even worth preventing?Varicella kills about 100 Americans per year, making this illness the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in this country. Eighty percent of the children who die were previously healthy children.
An average case of varicella brings 250 to 500 itchy pox to each patient. Bacterial infections of the pox are the most common complication of this disease. But varicella can also lead to pneumonia and rare, but very serious, brain dysfunction. The rates of complications increase with age; adults and teens with varicella have 10 to 20 times the complication rate as children. Still, of the 11,000 patients that need to be hospitalized each year with varicella complications, almost half are children.
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