Chicken Pox: Is a Vaccine Necessary?

Recently there has been a lot of controversy surrounding children’s vaccines: while some feel that they are wholly unnecessary and can cause serious, other health risks, other medical professionals stand by their recommendations that all children should be vaccinated, especially when speaking about one of the most common childhood diseases, chicken pox. Although most children who contract chicken pox make a full recovery, the incidences of death and serious health ailments is present and possible particularly in babies and young adults. During its onset, there is generally blister like rashes and a fever along with incessant itching.

These episodes normally last for about one to two weeks, however for those who are infants, pregnant or have a weak immune system, the symptoms can last much longer and the dangers can be more prevalent.

Prior to vaccines as many as four million people would contract chicken pox each year and as many as 13,000 were sustain hospitalizations according to the CDC. It was not uncommon for some to die of this disease, with an average of 100 to 150 individuals having recorded deaths due to complications of chicken pox.

On the whole, the medical community still recommends that children receive the chickenpox vaccine not only as a protective measure for themselves but for the community at large. Chicken pox is highly contagious, and therefore vaccines used as a preventative measure are able to reduce the risk of this illness spreading. Children are at high risk because they have weakened immune systems to start with and are susceptible to illnesses that adults are able to fight off.

Vaccinations are generally given in two doses; one at the age of 12 to 15 months and the final dose around the age of four to six years. Young adults and teens who receive the vaccine must do so with the doses spread at least 28 days apart. Overall, if the vaccine is only partially given (only one dose received) it is much less effective.

Some of the controversy has stemmed from the fact that even those who have been vaccinated can still get chicken pox, although it is still viewed as a stellar preventative measure for contracting the disease as well as protecting against further complications if one should be diagnosed with it. Those that do get vaccinated and still contract the illness almost always report a lesser time of infection and less severe symptoms.

Those in favor of the vaccination state that receiving it is inarguably better than taking chances contracting the disease. Not only do those inflicted with it have to deal with painful blisters, high fevers and the itchy rash, but they are more prone to contracting other symptoms and illnesses such as pneumonia, brain infections and bacterial inflammations. In rare cases serious health issues can follow a bout of chicken pox including toxic shock syndrome and bone or joint infections. Thereby, says much of the medical community, having your child vaccinated is the responsible thing to do.

Naysayers argue that this vaccine is simply a way for pharmaceutical companies to garner more money from unknowing citizens and that this childhood related illness is not serious enough to warrant a vaccination. Today the United States is the only country that requires the vaccination.

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