It is a topic that has attracted huge debate. There are parents who turn down vaccination to protect their kids from chickenpox. Chickenpox is a highly contagious disease caused by a herpes virus known as Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) that normally affects children. Although it is benign, there are rare cases where it gets complicated that results in pneumonia and encephalitis.
Instead of protecting their children against chickenpox through vaccination, there are parents who believe in immunizing their children the natural way. They intentionally infect their children with chickenpox by having them around children who are infected. Chickenpox is a nightmare to parents and children. These parents may not understand the risk that they are placing on their children.
They have deliberately infected their children with potentially deadly pathogen. The main point of getting vaccinated is to ensure that their children get the natural immunity without the whole pathogen issue. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing chickenpox. According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one dose of the vaccine leads to 80 to 85% of reduction in the incidence of catching the disease and 95 to 98% of reduction in severe disease. Two doses given at least 4 weeks apart increases the effectiveness of the vaccine to approximately 98%. Most importantly, the vaccine is close to 100% effective in preventing severe forms of the disease.
According to Dr. William Schaffner, a doctor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and a leading infectious disease expert, children who receive chickenpox vaccination have a lower risk of getting shingles compared to those who are not immunized.
He added that although chickenpox vaccines contained weakened version of the virus that might be reactivated later in life and could cause shingles, there possibility was low. Nearly 99% of the children who have received the vaccine will not get chickenpox. The remaining 1% will get a milder version of it. Thus, a vast majority of people who have received the immunization will not develop shingles.
Schaffner said that 4 million people in the United States were affected by chickenpox before the vaccine was introduced in 1995. The disease mainly affected children. However, there has been significant drop in the cases since the vaccine was introduced. CDC recommends that children to receive two doses of chickenpox vaccine. The first dose at the age of 12 months or 15 months and the second between the ages of 4 and 6.
Although chickenpox is no longer a life threatening disease, but parents should not take it lightly. There are rare cases that chickenpox post serious complications. According to Schaffner, a small percentage of children may develop encephalitis, an infection and inflammation of the brain due to the disease. Another complication is an infection of the chickenpox blisters, in which strep bacteria can get into the bloodstream.
The vaccination may seem unnecessary. But, it is vital for parents to understand how vaccination could protect children from the worst of the disease.
Leong Kim Weng is a writer who writes about parenthood's articles. He uses this platform to reach out to the young parents. Writing for www.parentsdojo.com has given him the opportunity to learn and share interesting perspectives with others.