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  #1  
Old 12-08-2011, 10:00 AM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Convince me the chicken pox vaccine isn't stupid

Don't worry - I'm not an antivaxxer and I think Jenny McCarthy should have her eyes gouged out with spoon. We have ALWAYS obtained all recommended vaccines for our son, including chicken pox, and a few extras due to the fact we have raised him in developing countries.

But. Our understanding is that if you get chicken pox as a kid, statistically speaking it is NOT likely to be serious. I would really like hard statistics on the outcomes of healthy kids who get chicken pox when they are young, but can't find them.

On the other hand, the chicken pox vaccine only seems to be about 80% effective. So if you get the vaccine, you are still at a fairly significant risk of getting chicken pox, probably at an older age than you would have if you hadn't had the vaccine and simply had chicken pox the way kids used to before the vaccine.

Here's the problem: as I understand it, chicken pox is much more serious if you get it when you are older. A 5 year old with chicken pox? No big deal. A 20 year old with chicken pox? Possible complications could result.

Anyway, we did have our kid vaccinated. AND GUESS WHAT?!? HE NOW HAS CHICKEN POX. He's 13, and I guess there is no reason to be alarmed. He has also been prescribed an antiviral medication, so perhaps that, along with his vaccination, will help to ensure that the disease does have a very mild course.

Still, I am ROYALLY PISSED that our son is sick with a disease he "should" have had years ago. Now he has it at an age where he is only barely safe from the likelihood of side effects. The doctor here said chicken pox is more serious after puberty, and luckily he's still pretty much a kid - though plenty of his 13-year-old classmates are well along into puberty.

If my resentment of the vaccine is misplaced, please educate me. I really, really don't want to be one of those crazy ignorant people who is against vaccines because they are new age weirdos. But I'm having a hard time seeing how the risk of having chicken pox when you are 4 or 6 is greater than the risk of getting it when you are 13 or 18, which seems to be what you face if you get the vaccine.
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2011, 10:15 AM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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I didn't have the vax (wasn't invented yet) and I still got chicken pox at 13 and it was pretty miserable for a little while, but ultimately no big deal. I'm just saying that 13 is not old; there's a good chance he would not have had it sooner even without the vax. And by getting it, he had a pretty good chance to never get it at all. I can't make a good argument for not getting the vaccine from this.
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2011, 10:18 AM
Implicit Implicit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
But. Our understanding is that if you get chicken pox as a kid, statistically speaking it is NOT likely to be serious. I would really like hard statistics on the outcomes of healthy kids who get chicken pox when they are young, but can't find them.
"NOT likely to be serious" would not be how I'd describe the risks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by link
"What people may not have realized, every year, about 105 people died of chickenpox. About half of those were children and about 11,000-12,000 were hospitalized with severe complications. We started preventing the disease to really prevent those very serious complications."
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2011, 10:33 AM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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From the CDC:

Quote:
While no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease, the chickenpox vaccine is very effective: about 8 to 9 of every 10 people who are vaccinated are completely protected from chickenpox. In addition, the vaccine almost always prevents against severe disease. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually a very mild case lasting only a few days and involving fewer skin lesions (usually less than 50), mild or no fever, and few other symptoms.
So, even in cases like your child getting the disease, the severity of the disease is likely to be reduced.

The bigger picture, though, is that the vaccine isn't really aimed all that strongly at sparing little kids a bout of itchy bumps, even though that in itself is a good thing, given that it does kill, as was mentioned above. There are more severe complications that can be reduced and hopefully eliminated given widespread vaccination. Unprotected adults, in whom chicken pox is much more likely to be serious, would have less opportunity to get infected. And then there's shingles. If you're not aware, shingles is a very painful condition that's caused by the same virus. When you get chicken pox, even if it's a mild childhood case, the virus can go dormant within your nerve cells - it's a herpes virus, after all, and that's kind of what they do - and stay there for decades. When it reemerges, that's shingles. If you can avoid getting infected in the first place, you don't have to worry about that.

Yes, it's not perfect. Yes, there will occasionally be a person here or there who is inconvenienced by its imperfections, even to the point of arguably having a worse time of it than if they hadn't been vaccinated. But for the human species as a whole, a simple, safe, effective vaccine that helps reduce a disease is an unequivocally good thing.

I'm sorry for your son's discomfort.
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  #5  
Old 12-08-2011, 10:43 AM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
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If you want an anecdote, I had it when I was 13 also - I caught it from my younger siblings. (it sucked, but no complications, just lots of pain and scarring) On the flip side, I was not vaccinated when I was younger, but my mother did spend about 4 years dragging me to every pox-party and daycare/school outbreak she could find - it just never worked.

I can't find a good cite now, but I have also heard that getting the vax helps with possible outbreaks of shingles later in life. Shingles suck massively, and so that's a good reason also. There is a vax for shingles, but they want you to be 60 to get it, and everyone I have met who got shingles got them in their 40s.

So, there's another reason for you.
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  #6  
Old 12-08-2011, 10:51 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Originally Posted by Lasciel View Post
If you want an anecdote, I had it when I was 13 also - I caught it from my younger siblings. (it sucked, but no complications, just lots of pain and scarring) On the flip side, I was not vaccinated when I was younger, but my mother did spend about 4 years dragging me to every pox-party and daycare/school outbreak she could find - it just never worked.

I can't find a good cite now, but I have also heard that getting the vax helps with possible outbreaks of shingles later in life. Shingles suck massively, and so that's a good reason also. There is a vax for shingles, but they want you to be 60 to get it, and everyone I have met who got shingles got them in their 40s.

So, there's another reason for you.
Is there a concrete reason for the part I bolded?
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:34 AM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
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Originally Posted by purplehorseshoe View Post
Is there a concrete reason for the part I bolded?
I have no earthly idea, but that's what keeps coming up in searches.

.... Checking the CDC site, I'm seeing that the older you are, the worse the shingles seem to hit, and that since it's new, they only know that the vax is good for about 6 years.

So, I'm guessing that they are pushing the age up so that elderly people aren't at risk of having the vax run dry just when they're at most risk for severe complications? With people regularly living to be much older than 60, they're going to have to re-think that plan eventually anyway -

FDA will let you have it at 50, but that's still pretty old. I can't see why you can't just get a booster even if it does run out every few years - I mean, tetanus doesn't work for more than 10, so you just know to get it every decade so you're covered.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/...-need-know.htm

weird, huh?
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:38 AM
Bloodless Turnip Bloodless Turnip is offline
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They think the vaccination will help shield you from shingles, they don't actually know that yet. Far as I'm able to tell that is.
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:43 AM
Ludy Ludy is offline
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According to this the shingles vaccine is basically the same as the chicken pox vaccine. Just a higher dose.
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:43 AM
LavenderBlue LavenderBlue is offline
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If you get the disease by natural means you don't know the strength of the illness. It could be a very mild or it could be a seriously awful one. That's the problem with chicken pox parties. It could be no big deal for one kid and hell for another even if the second kid is healthier than the first. I had it when I was seven naturally. Two miserable weeks of itching and begging my mom for calomine lotion. My kids get the vax.

So sorry to hear about your son. I hope he has a quick and easy recovery.
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  #11  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:44 AM
overlyverbose overlyverbose is offline
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Originally Posted by Lasciel View Post
So, I'm guessing that they are pushing the age up so that elderly people aren't at risk of having the vax run dry just when they're at most risk for severe complications? With people regularly living to be much older than 60, they're going to have to re-think that plan eventually anyway -

FDA will let you have it at 50, but that's still pretty old. I can't see why you can't just get a booster even if it does run out every few years - I mean, tetanus doesn't work for more than 10, so you just know to get it every decade so you're covered.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/...-need-know.htm

weird, huh?
I'm guessing that's certainly part of why they don't offer it to younger people. Plus, most people see it as an older person's disease. At least I did when I got it. I was 33, if I recall correctly. It was absolutely excruciating and could've caused damage to my optical nerve (it was in my right eye), which would've possibly resulted in blindness. As a younger person and luckily taking antivirals due to its location, I got over it in a week and a half, but many people who are older and get it continue to have pain for months.

I guess I have to wonder...if a vaccine for chicken pox makes it less likely that your kid gets it, has few side effects and if the kid gets it makes chicken pox less bad, why wouldn't you get it?

On the one hand, I believe in the power of naturally building up a kid's immune system by letting them play in the dirt and not disinfecting everything to within an inch of their lives. On the other, if you can prevent a potentially serious illness, it seems like a no-brainer to do so.

Last edited by overlyverbose; 12-08-2011 at 11:45 AM..
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:46 AM
Rhiannon8404 Rhiannon8404 is offline
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Kiddo was vaccinated for chicken pox just before entering kindergarten. He got chicken pox two years later. It was a very mild case. I attribute that to the vaccine.
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  #13  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:47 AM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
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Originally Posted by Bloodless Turnip View Post
They think the vaccination will help shield you from shingles, they don't actually know that yet. Far as I'm able to tell that is.
I think there's one study that shows a decrease in shingles in young people, but the vaccine simply hasn't been around long enough for them to do proper longitudinal studies on it.


Vaccines are most effective when the large majority of the population has gotten them. That way, the very few people who get the disease spread it to very few people, which means an incidence of the disease can either be eradicated or have an extremely limited lifespan in the population. We're not at that level of vaccination rate with the chicken pox vaccine, which means the people who are vaccinated are exposed much more often than they would be in a vaccinated population. Thus, an 80% prevention rate doesn't seem that huge, when in a largely vaccinated population, it's probably enough to kill chicken pox pretty much completely.
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  #14  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:50 AM
thatguyjeff thatguyjeff is offline
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Herd. Immunity.

Even though not 100% effective, vaccinations greatly reduce the communicability of a disease, thus reducing the risk for everyone - especially those who can't have the vaccine due to allergies.

Vaccines aren't about just protecting you. They're about protecting public health. Those who don't vaccinate are putting others at increased risk.
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  #15  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:01 PM
Minnie Luna Minnie Luna is offline
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I had Chicken Pox at 16 and was one of the statistics. My case was so severe I ended up hospitalized. I wasn't just covered with scabs, I had lesions in my eyes, down my throat, in my ears and another rather painful place. I ran a very high fever that would not come down with OTC medication. My mom had been in contact with my Dr. and when they finally decided to bring me in they had a nice little isolation room ready for me. I was in the hospital for 3 days, but I don't remember too much of it. I do remember the side effects of the Bendryl and that was when we found out that Benedryl makes me wacky.

I missed almost a month of school.
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  #16  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:13 PM
Palo Verde Palo Verde is offline
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My son got the shot and then got the disease. I read a lot about what to expect and it sounded terrible. But he had an extremely mild version of the disease, and I am convinced that is due to the vaccine. Mild chicken pox is WAY better than severe chicken pox. It's totally worth it.
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  #17  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:16 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasciel View Post
FDA will let you have it at 50, but that's still pretty old. I can't see why you can't just get a booster even if it does run out every few years - I mean, tetanus doesn't work for more than 10, so you just know to get it every decade so you're covered.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/...-need-know.htm

weird, huh?
It's possible that not enough data has been collected yet to justify a booster regimen for this vaccine. Targetting the most at-risk group for the initial (first few years) use of the vaccine makes sense, and, again, with more time and data the age group that can receive it might drop, especially if a booster becomes possible.

Cynically, there may be patent issues here as well: it's possible that the parent company is planning to file amended data with the FDA in order to obtain patents for a "new use" for the vaccine which could extend it's exclusivity time and delay a generic competitor.
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  #18  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:31 PM
raspberry hunter raspberry hunter is offline
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I asked our pediatrician about this (and like you, I'm not against vaccines in general, just the chicken pox one). I had chicken pox in fourth grade, it was itchy and I had to miss two weeks of school, but other than that it was fine, and I didn't see what the point was of vaccinating my daughter.

She said first that it could reduce the severity of shingles. Having known at least one person who had a fairly bad case of it, I think that's not such a bad reason. She said, secondly, that at least in CA where it's been required for a while, the chicken pox virus is now as a result rare enough that you might not otherwise catch it until you were fairly old, at which point it's much more severe (but if you did after being vaccinated, like your son, the symptoms would not be as severe).

That second reason, um, is probably an argument that the chicken pox vaccine is stupid, but it did convince me that my daughter had better get it.

Last edited by raspberry hunter; 12-08-2011 at 12:31 PM.. Reason: darn tags
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  #19  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:38 PM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlyverbose View Post

On the one hand, I believe in the power of naturally building up a kid's immune system by letting them play in the dirt and not disinfecting everything to within an inch of their lives. On the other, if you can prevent a potentially serious illness, it seems like a no-brainer to do so.

If you think about it, vaccines are more compatible with the "playing in the dirt" approach than they are with hypersanitization. I mean, anything that triggers an immune response to something else is either the dead version of that thing or a peptide contained in the protein in question, so vaccines are pretty much injecting you with the "dirt." They just do it in a way that lets you build the immune response without actually having the infection.
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  #20  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:39 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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I've known 2 people who had shingles at 40 (my sister, and a co-worker). Both of them were in such severe pain that they ended up in the ER, and had some lasting neurological effects. That's good enough for me.
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  #21  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:46 PM
The Man In Black The Man In Black is offline
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Originally Posted by Smeghead View Post
If you're not aware, shingles is a very painful condition that's caused by the same virus. When you get chicken pox, even if it's a mild childhood case, the virus can go dormant within your nerve cells - it's a herpes virus, after all, and that's kind of what they do - and stay there for decades. When it reemerges, that's shingles. If you can avoid getting infected in the first place, you don't have to worry about that.
Wait, so your saying if you get chicken pox as a kid, that will cause you to get shingles? That is the opposite of what I always heard. I thought if you get chicken pox, your chances of getting shingles was very slim. Is this not the case?

And I had chicken pox when I was 20. I barley even had a fever. Only had a few marks on me. My younger sister got it at the same time. She has scars from her marks.
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  #22  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:51 PM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
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Originally Posted by The Man In Black View Post
Wait, so your saying if you get chicken pox as a kid, that will cause you to get shingles?

Yup. The virus doesn't go away after you get chicken pox, it just goes dormant and re-emerges as shingles when your immune system can't keep it suppressed. Creepy and gross, no?
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  #23  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:54 PM
Doctor Doctor is offline
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I can tell you, you don't want chicken pox when you are older! I got it when I was 18 and I was down and out for the entire Christmas and New Year's holidays that year. It started with the 103 degree fever. Luckily it was not bad enough that I had any complications but I sure had 2 sucky weeks lying on the couch at home itching and feverish. All my friends had chicken pox when they were little kids, but I had never gotten them despite being around them when they were sick. I got it totally out of the blue at college -- no idea where I picked it up from. No vaccine existed at the time.
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  #24  
Old 12-08-2011, 12:57 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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I got a bad case of chicken pox as a child. I didn't have any serious complications, but I have scars on my face from it. I think these may have contributed to my body image issues.

When I have a kid, he or she is getting the chicken pox vaccine as damn early as possible.
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  #25  
Old 12-08-2011, 01:12 PM
Butterscotch Butterscotch is offline
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The pediatrician suggest I have my youngest daughter vaccinated against chickenpox, the older one had already caught it when she was 7 months old.

It was recommended because my youngest has patches of eczema and is a serial scratcher/picker. It is very likely that if she gets Chicken pox she will scar herself badly, no matter how often we cut her nails of make her wear gloves. She would also be at a higher risk of the blisters becoming infected as a result of her scratching at them.

The doctor also said that she might have complications as she has a history of ear and bronchial infections.

I understand she may still catch it, but if it is a 'diluted' version that's better for us.
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  #26  
Old 12-08-2011, 01:16 PM
Swords to Plowshares Swords to Plowshares is offline
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In case you do get the chicken pox after getting vaccinated, it's very mild. I got the vaccine and I still got chicken pox in 6th grade, but it was so mild that my mother thought they were bug bites. I had about a dozen spots total, if that.
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  #27  
Old 12-08-2011, 01:22 PM
DiosaBellissima DiosaBellissima is offline
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I saw a sign for the shingles vaccine at a drugstore the other day and I was wondering how that would work. I suppose I haven't given it that much thought, but I thought shingles is just there in you (if you've had chicken pox) and can spring up any ol' time your immune system is depressed for any reason. Does the shingles vaccine work like any other vaccine? I mean, I guess my confusion is that the shingles is already in your body, so how would introducing more (controlled) shingles stop shingles outbreaks? Especially since you can have multiple shingles outbreaks.

Maybe this is just showing my vaccine ignorance here.

FWIW: I am just too old to have missed the chicken pox vaccine. I got chicken pox at 8 or so and don't remember it being particularly bad. When I was 20, I got shingles and that was super freaking awful.
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  #28  
Old 12-08-2011, 02:09 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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I thought I remembered seeing something a while ago about a theory that adults being around low level chicken pox infections often (what with kids everywhere) actually kept their immune systems in practice and made it less likely for them to get shingles.

Trust me, I know shingles sucks - my dad came down with them at my college graduation and ended up in the emergency room. He was in terrible pain for more than a year.

See, I was immune to the damned chicken pox as a kid and they vaccinated me in my teens, so I've been concerned ever since about the long term effects of the vaccine - shingles, long term effectiveness, etc. It seems to be rather too soon to tell on a grand scale, which worries me.
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  #29  
Old 12-08-2011, 02:14 PM
kbear kbear is offline
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I felt like an idiot when I first found out about the chicken pox vaccine. I never even knew there was one and both my kids had it by the time they were 4. The only reason I wish they'd had the vaccine is that their babysitter had shingles not once but twice and she was miserable. Shingles also ruined the last few years of my grandmother's life.

So hopefully when they're older the shingles vaccine will work for them.
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  #30  
Old 12-08-2011, 02:25 PM
corvidae corvidae is offline
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Originally Posted by mnemosyne View Post
It's possible that not enough data has been collected yet to justify a booster regimen for this vaccine.
I can only speak for Ontario, but a chicken pox booster has been introduced quite recently. It's been tacked on to the 2nd MMR (now the MMR-V), and is scheduled to be given to children between the ages of four and six. That said, my office (among others) have recently started giving booster doses of the chicken pox vaccine to older children who've already had their 2nd MMR.
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  #31  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:37 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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The problem with this discussion is that we're still mostly at the level of anecdote. I *know* chicken pox can be a serious disease - in fact, that's kind of my point. If you have the vaccine as a kid, it seems as if you are increasing the likelihood you will get chicken pox as an adult, and chicken pox in adults is worse.

I would like to see some reliable statistics. Implicit's link to the CNN story says that the vaccine prevents about 105 deaths from pediatric chicken pox in the US every year and around 12,000 hospitalizations. It also says that adults are at 20 times the risk of dying from chicken pox. We also know that about 20% of the people who get the vaccine will get chicken pox (though hopefully in a milder form), and presumably this is now more likely to happen when they are adults.

The facts in the above paragraph don't prove the vaccine is bad or good; they are merely incomplete. As is pointed out in the comments underneath the linked article, 105 deaths a year is vanishingly few from a public health perspective.

I'm still interested to know what the impact of the vaccine is on the likelihood of catching chicken pox as an adult and what the outcomes of such cases tend to be. If it is 100% certain that adults who catch chicken pox after having been vaccinated will escape serious complications,* okay fine. But the vaccine will have to be pretty darn effective to help all of these adults, if chicken pox is in essence 20 times as severe in adults as it is in kids. And, with only an 80% success rate, this does not seem like a particularly effective vaccine.

Anyway, from reading this thread, the link, and the comments below the link, I'm ending up glad my child has chicken pox - no more lifelong worry about boosters.

* Yeah I know that isn't realistic but you know what I mean: if the outcomes are so improved that it we're saving enough lives/preventing enough hospitalizations to make the outcomes better with the vaccine than without it.
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  #32  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:44 PM
Musicat Musicat is online now
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Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
T If you have the vaccine as a kid, it seems as if you are increasing the likelihood you will get chicken pox as an adult, and chicken pox in adults is worse.
"It seems" like you are making a statement with no proof to back it up. Got some?
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  #33  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:44 PM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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An acquaintance of mine developed a form of blood cancer (I can't think of the exact name at this time) and was put on chemo therapy. After his second treatment, he developed shingles. Apparently, that is rather common. The chemo suppresses your immune system and the viruses come out of hiding and do their damage.

Adding shingles to all the other effects of having cancer and chemo is just mind-boggling.

By the way, that was a few years ago. It looks like he is beating the cancer.
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  #34  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:48 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
See, I was immune to the damned chicken pox as a kid and they vaccinated me in my teens, so I've been concerned ever since about the long term effects of the vaccine - shingles, long term effectiveness, etc. It seems to be rather too soon to tell on a grand scale, which worries me.
Since the vaccine contains no live virus the vaccine can NOT give you shingles!

It's getting chicken pox that puts you at risk for shingles.
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  #35  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:49 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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The CDC even admits preventing the few chicken pox deaths annually was not the major benefit of the vaccine, but rather the 12,000 hospitalizations.

Also, the longer the vaccine is in service, the closer chicken pox comes to being wiped out entirely. It can't spread among people who are already immune, and fewer sick kids means a smaller likelihood that an unprotected adult will catch it. In 20 years when chicken pox is as "old news" as smallpox is now, it will be because of the vaccine.
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  #36  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:51 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Sorry, missed the edit window, wanted to add:


PS - Thanks for the good wishes for my son; he's fine and experiencing very little discomfort. He's even being mature about handling the disappointment over losing out on most or all of his weekend plans (he was scheduled to go to TWO laser tag parties, one on Sat and one on Sun - lucky boy!)
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  #37  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:53 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
"It seems" like you are making a statement with no proof to back it up. Got some?
Why the hostility? I'm try to discuss this rationally. Did you notice that I am ASKING for the statistics? That is precisely my point in posting this thread. I want to be educated.
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  #38  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:53 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
An acquaintance of mine developed a form of blood cancer (I can't think of the exact name at this time) and was put on chemo therapy. After his second treatment, he developed shingles. Apparently, that is rather common. The chemo suppresses your immune system and the viruses come out of hiding and do their damage.

Adding shingles to all the other effects of having cancer and chemo is just mind-boggling.

By the way, that was a few years ago. It looks like he is beating the cancer.
Vulnerability to shingles is a consequence of having been infected with chicken pox earlier in life. If a chicken pox vaccine had been successful and prevented infection as a child, your acquaintance could not possibly have developed shingles. The chicken pox vaccine is guaranteed to reduce the number of shingles cases as the people who received it start getting old. The kids of people who are being born today (at least in first world countries where the chicken pox vaccine is being distributed) will likely have no idea what shingles is.
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  #39  
Old 12-08-2011, 06:55 PM
amanset amanset is offline
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Originally Posted by thatguyjeff View Post
Herd. Immunity.

Even though not 100% effective, vaccinations greatly reduce the communicability of a disease, thus reducing the risk for everyone - especially those who can't have the vaccine due to allergies.

Vaccines aren't about just protecting you. They're about protecting public health. Those who don't vaccinate are putting others at increased risk.
This.

I am thirty seven and have not had chicken pox. Infected kids scare me. The less infected kids there are the easier my peace of mind and the lower my likelihood of getting what is apparently a nasty illness.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:58 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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I simply don't have the time to go hunt down what you're looking for, though I'd suggest that the CDC is a good place to start, but I suspect that a lot of the statistic you'd like to see simply don't exist yet. The vaccine just hasn't been around for long enough yet for reliable statistics to have been measured. You might be able to get estimates or reasonable assumptions, but statistic may be hard to come by.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:00 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Originally Posted by amanset View Post
This.

I am thirty seven and have not had chicken pox. Infected kids scare me. The less infected kids there are the easier my peace of mind and the lower my likelihood of getting what is apparently a nasty illness.
So why not get the vaccine? Adults can get it too.
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  #42  
Old 12-08-2011, 07:18 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
. . . If you have the vaccine as a kid, it seems as if you are increasing the likelihood you will get chicken pox as an adult, and chicken pox in adults is worse. . .
I've only got an anecdote, but I don't think that's the way it work. See, I took a vaccine that didn't work, only it was the rubella one. I don't know how old I was when I got it the first time, but I know I was in school. Mom had us get it as soon as it came out.

They test for rubella antibodies when you get pregnant, though, and I didn't have any. So after my first was born, I got another vaccine. Then I was pregnant with my second and, again, no antibodies. That was less than three years after the second vaccine. So I got a third vaccine.

My third pregnancy started less than a year after the second. Still no antibodies. At that point I smiled and nodded and didn't bother getting the shot. My conclusion was that for some people the vaccine just doesn't work. If I wasn't produding antibodies a year after the vaccine, I just wasn't producing antibodies.

I think the odds are good that your son was never immune to chicken pox and that he could have caught it younger but just didn't. Now, possibly he didn't catch it because there were fewer other kids to catch it from, and that's the vaccine's fault. But I don't think the vaccine delayed his vulnerability directly.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:19 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
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Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
So why not get the vaccine? Adults can get it too.
The vaccine not only works by giving him (her?) a good chance at personal immunity, but also reducing the number of infected kids he encounters if his vaccine happens to fail!
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:45 PM
FrillyNettles FrillyNettles is offline
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Since the vaccine contains no live virus the vaccine can NOT give you shingles!

It's getting chicken pox that puts you at risk for shingles.
Incorrect. The varicella vaccine is a modified live virus vaccine. My youngest daughter received this vaccine at the age of 15 months. She developed shingles at the age of 4. However, it was a very mild case of shingles. She had never had the actual virus, so she had to have developed shingles in response to the vaccine.

Because she has had severe reactions to another live virus vaccine, her neurologist does not want her to have the booster for varicella. This worries me, as I don't want her immunity to wear off, leaving her vulnerable as an adult. However, her doctor checked her titer at the age of 15, and she still had a very high titer from the one vaccine she received as a toddler.

BTW, people who have natural chicken pox infections can still get re-infected. It all depends on how your immune system reacted to the first infection. I know a woman who has had natural chicken pox THREE separate times. Yet my daughter, who had one vaccine at the age of 15 months, had a high vaccine titer at the age of 15. So who knows.

But you CAN still get shingles. She did.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:42 PM
DSeid DSeid is online now
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Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Since the vaccine contains no live virus the vaccine can NOT give you shingles!
Indeed that is incorrect. It is a live weakened virus. One can get shingles after it. Experience with high risk children has demonstrated that the risk is much less after the vaccine than from natural disease however.

As for data on the vaccine's overall benefit - I refer to this recent study.
Quote:
Near Elimination of Varicella Deaths in the US After Implementation of the Vaccination Program ... During the 12 years of the mostly 1-dose US varicella vaccination program, the mortality rate attributed to varicella as the underlying cause declined by 88% compared with the prevaccine years. The decline occurred in all age groups, with an extremely high reduction among children and adolescents younger than 20 years (97%) and among those younger than 50 years overall (96%). Most of the deaths (89%) continued to occur among those without apparent contraindications to vaccination and were therefore potentially preventable. ... we found a greater-than-expected decline (67%) in mortality with varicella listed as an underlying cause of death among adults aged 50 years or older ...
Hospitalizations assciated with varicella have also been drastically reduced.

I was a skeptic when it came out, and I still have some concerns, but so far it is proving itself to have been a very good idea.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:59 PM
Eliahna Eliahna is online now
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In the last 5 years two children of acquaintances have had shingles, even though shingles is apparently very rare in the under 10 age group. I have wondered if there's a connection to the chicken pox vaccine, but haven't been in a position to ask (both were friends of a friend, and neither friend knew for sure if the child had been vaccinated).
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:33 PM
Implicit Implicit is offline
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Originally Posted by Cazzle View Post
In the last 5 years two children of acquaintances have had shingles, even though shingles is apparently very rare in the under 10 age group. I have wondered if there's a connection to the chicken pox vaccine, but haven't been in a position to ask (both were friends of a friend, and neither friend knew for sure if the child had been vaccinated).
Your anecdote isn't particularly enlightening.

"very rare? Not really, 5% of shingles cases are in children.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:37 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
Indeed that is incorrect. It is a live weakened virus. One can get shingles after it. Experience with high risk children has demonstrated that the risk is much less after the vaccine than from natural disease however.

As for data on the vaccine's overall benefit - I refer to this recent study.
Hospitalizations assciated with varicella have also been drastically reduced.

I was a skeptic when it came out, and I still have some concerns, but so far it is proving itself to have been a very good idea.
Out of curiosity (and I will ask my doc about it when I go for my next appt.), my sister was very surprised to be diagnosed with shingles last year, as to the best of Mom's recollection, neither of us ever had chickenpox, and the vaccine didn't exist yet when we were at the regular age to get it. I should look into getting it now, no? (She was diagnosed literally days after my annual checkup last year.) We both had all kinds of rashes, etc. as a kid, and at least my sister must have had chickenpox at some point then, right? Which means I may have, too, without realizing it?

P.S. A propos of nothing, we had a pediatric dermatologist named Dr. Spot, to whom we were referred by our pediatrician, Dr. Gerber.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:11 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is offline
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
As for data on the vaccine's overall benefit - I refer to this recent study.
Hospitalizations assciated with varicella have also been drastically reduced.

I was a skeptic when it came out, and I still have some concerns, but so far it is proving itself to have been a very good idea.

Thank you! That is precisely the sort of information I was looking for when I started this thread. (I suppose I could have put the question in GQ, but I was concerned that that data might be preliminary/open to interpretation, so I choose IMHO - also that's where medical stuff goes, so I hope I made the right choice.)

Last edited by CairoCarol; 12-08-2011 at 10:12 PM..
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:12 PM
Motorgirl Motorgirl is offline
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I recently had myself tested for chicken pox immunity. I figured that at the age of 40 I needed to get immunized if I wasn't immune. My sister had chicken pox when I was 7, and despite my mom's best efforts (keeping me home from school to hang out with my sister) I never had noticeable chicken pox. I say noticeable because the blood test showed I did have chicken pox at some point. My mom swore I never had it, though, because I never had a fever, no pox, nothing.
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