For proof of the power of widespread vaccination, you need look no further than the history of chickenpox in the United States. Although the actual mortality rate of chickenpox – or varicella, as it is more formally known – was lower than that of other known infectious diseases before the introduction of the vaccine in 1995, the itchy red spots that cause it have long been known that it is extraordinary. contagious. For decades, chickenpox infection has been virtually a childhood rite of passage: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has counted more than four million cases each years before the vaccine, first developed in the 1960s and ’70s, was implemented. Less than 350,000 cases of chickenpox are now recorded each year in the US
So when do babies get the chickenpox vaccine? Can you get chickenpox after receiving the vaccine? These are all your questions about chickenpox vaccines, answered.
How effective is the chickenpox vaccine?
The recommended two doses of the chickenpox vaccine reduce your child’s likelihood of contracting the disease by more than 90 percent, creating important protection for your child and for you, as adults are more likely than children to develop severe symptoms. develop. Vaccinated people who do get the chickenpox usually have a much milder course of the disease.
In the past, more than 100,000 people a year – mostly children – were hospitalized for chickenpox complications, such as bacterial infections and pneumonia. The vaccine dropped the number by 84 percent to less than 1,700 hospitalizations annually, and deaths took a 90 percent dip in teens.
Today, chickenpox groups mainly come just below groups of unvaccinated children, and studies have shown that a whopping 90 percent of unvaccinated people will get chickenpox if exposed.
When do babies get the chickenpox vaccine?
The vaccine’s proven success has made it a core part of the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule for infants and toddlers. And it’s the safest way to guarantee chickenpox immunity required by schools in more than 40 states.
Children should receive their first dose of chickenpox vaccine within a few months of their first birthday, and their second dose between the ages of 4 and 6, according to the CDC. The vaccine is also recommended for adults who have not been vaccinated or infected as children.
Chickenpox Vaccine Ingredients
Like the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, the chickenpox vaccine is a type of vaccine known as a live vaccine. In a live vaccine, the main ingredient is an attenuated form of the virus against which the vaccine protects, carefully modified to train the body to recognize a specific threat without actually causing disease.
In the case of chickenpox, the varicella virus present in the vaccine is altered by a process called cell culture adaptation to reproduce at a rate that is much slower than the original virus, preventing the type of buildup that can overwhelm the immune system. . This is a level of control that can not be found at a chickenpox party.
In addition to this specialized varicella strain, a chickenpox vaccine usually contains a stabilizing ingredient such as gelatin or sorbitol. Traces of other ingredients used in the manufacturing process – such as antibiotics to prevent contamination and simple salts to balance the pH of the vaccine – are another harmless part of any dose. These inactive ingredients may differ slightly in other countries based on the manufacturer.
Depending on your pediatrician, you may be offered the option of an MMRV vaccine for your child, a safe choice that combines the standard MMR vaccine with the varicella vaccine in one dose.
Varicella Vaccine Side Effects
As with all vaccines, side effects are normal and cause no alarm. In fact, they are often a good sign that the shot stimulates the immune system and works as intended. Soreness and stiffness in the injected arm are fairly common, and a small percentage of people develop a small rash after vaccination that naturally clears up without treatment.
Chickenpox vaccine history
For all its success in sparing generations of those itchy, inflamed spots, the chickenpox vaccine also occupies a much quieter place in history as one of a long series of scientific breakthroughs inspired by parenting.
In 1964, as a research fellow at Baylor Medical College in Texas, Michiaki Takahashi, Managing Director, changed his focus from measles and polio to chickenpox after seeing his 3-year-old son fall ill. By 1972, Takahashi was conducting clinical trials of its chickenpox vaccine in Japan. Just a few years later, a small group of countries joined Japan to implement the first chickenpox vaccination programs. The United States came on board 20 years later and brought Takahashi’s work to millions of children in the country.