Should the Chickenpox Vaccine Be Offered to All Children?

Years ago, children routinely caught chickenpox as a normal childhood illness.  Some parents would even hold chickenpox parties so that if one child amongst a group had chickenpox, they could all catch it quickly. Nowadays, there is a vaccination for chickenpox but it is not offered routinely as part of the childhood suite of vaccinations by the NHS.   If you want to have the chickenpox vaccination privately then contact our immunisation clinics in Streatham and Bromley.  Touchwood Pharmacy offers the chickenpox vaccination in Streatham and the chickenpox vaccination in Bromley.

Why isn’t the chickenpox vaccination routinely offered as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme?

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and the vaccine is sometimes called the varicella vaccineIt would seem counter-intuitive not to offer the vaccine to all children but the concern is that this could increase the risk of chickenpox and shingles in adults.

In children, chickenpox is not a serious illness and, whilst unpleasant, most children do not suffer any adverse effects and recover quickly and easily. In adults, chickenpox is a much more serious disease and the risk of complications increases with the age.

A childhood chickenpox immunisation programme would mean children would not catch chickenpox as the infection would no longer be in circulation amongst groups of children who had been vaccinated. However, unvaccinated children would be at risk of contracting chickenpox as adults where it is a much more serious disease.  They are more likely to develop an infection or a secondary complication and women can be at significant risk during pregnancy as chickenpox can harm the baby. There would also be a large increase in the number of adults contracting shingles.

What is shingles?

Shingles is also known as herpes zoster and is caused by the varicella-zoster virus.  It is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. Shingles will cause a painful rash that can appear anywhere on your body but more commonly occurs as a patch or line of blisters somewhere around the torso.

Being exposed to chickenpox again as an adult, for example, if your children have chickenpox will boost adult immunity to shingles. Vaccinating against chickenpox lowers this natural boosting of the immune system and will lead to more cases of shingles amongst the adult population.

Does the chickenpox vaccine have any side effects?

The most common side effect is soreness or redness around the site of the injection.

If you wish to have the chickenpox vaccination then contact Touchwood Pharmacy.  We offer the chickenpox vaccination in Streatham and the chickenpox vaccination in BromleyVisit our website to find out more