NHS Service

Should your Child Have Chickenpox Vaccination?

Child with chickenpox

Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is known to be a common occurrence in childhood and we all are used to seeing it. You may have even had it as a child and you may even remember, vividly, the itchy manifestation. These days there is a vaccine you can give your child to prevent chickenpox called the varicella vaccine. There is also conflicting and confusing information out there that may have you wondering whether or not the chickenpox vaccine for children is actually good or bad. Touchwood Pharmacy has all the correct and relevant information to help you make the best decision about the chickenpox vaccination in the UK.

The Chickenpox Vaccine:

  • Requires two doses
  • Is not a routine childhood vaccination
  • Is offered routinely or for free only to individuals likely to come into immunocompromised groupings who would be vulnerable to severe consequences from a chickenpox infection

Earlier studies as to the chickenpox vaccine reported that the varicella vaccine increased the risk of shingles for children. Whilst this was speculative, at best, and the study samples were very small, newer research is much more clear in many areas of the chickenpox vaccine.  

Scientific American has published studies indicating that when children received both recommended doses of the chickenpox vaccine, their rates of shingles were lower than those children who received only one dose of the vaccine. In a study involving 6.4 million vaccinated children in the US ranging from newborns to age 17, authors found that one dose of the vaccine reduced shingles infection by 78%, aside from in toddlers. Higher risk in toddlers are attributed to the developing immune systems in young children.  

With that said, the first dose is still recommended by the age of one year. Since becoming widely recommended in 2006, the vaccine has also had a positive effect on shingles cases in unvaccinated children, rapidly decreasing shingles presentation. These studies suggest that the benefits of the varicella vaccine go beyond just preventing chickenpox and in fact prevent serious complications down the road.  

Sadly, the NHS has not caught up with the research and does not offer varicella chickenpox vaccines routinely or for free. Touchwood Pharmacy has knowledgeable staff and pharmacists to help you decide whether your child should have the chickenpox vaccine. You can book your child’s varicella vaccination in Sydenham and Northolt or seek information and advice on the chickenpox vaccination in the UK by visiting us online.  www.touchwoodpharmacy.com