You remember chicken pox, don’t you?
Is this really a disease that we need to vaccinate our kids against?
Obviously, the folks who posted the following comments don’t seem to think so.
It is just as obvious that they are wrong though.
No one ever says that chicken pox, measles, mumps, and rubella kills everyone that gets them.
Even in the pre-vaccine era, when measles would kill 500 people a year in the United States, there is a very good chance that you wouldn’t have known anyone that died of measles. Of course, that doesn’t mean that nobody died of measles or chicken pox or any other now vaccine-preventable disease.
You likely know someone that plays football, right? Maybe on a youth football team or in middle school or high school? Do you know anyone that plays on a team in the NFL? While millions of kids might play football, only a few thousand play in the NFL.
Chicken pox was never a benign disease. It was considered a rite of passage because we all had to endure it, but it wasn’t something anyone looked forward to. You don’t die from a benign disease.
Part of that is actually true – “they keep you a customer for life” because you didn’t die from a vaccine-preventable disease!
Many countries don’t have the chicken pox vaccine on their routine immunization schedule because they don’t think it is cost-effective and they were concerned about what controlling chicken pox could do to rates of shingles.
“About 3 in every 1000 pregnant women in the UK catch chickenpox. Between 1985 and 1998, nine pregnant women died in the UK from chickenpox complications. Their unborn babies are also at risk from a rare condition called foetal varicella syndrome (FVS). This can result in serious long-term damage to the baby or even death, particularly if the mother catches chickenpox in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.”
Vaccine Knowledge Project on Chickenpox (Varicella)
These countries have the same rates of shingles as countries that do use the chicken pox vaccine, but still have high rates of chicken pox and complications of chicken pox!
The UK does not vaccinate for chicken pox, but young, otherwise healthy kids die with chicken pox in the UK.
We don’t need disease.
While you will be at higher risk for complications from chicken pox and most other diseases if you have a compromised immune system or are malnourished, if you are otherwise healthy, there is nothing you can do to boost your immune system to try and beat chicken pox – besides getting vaccinated.
The chicken pox vaccine provides long lasting protection. Ironically, anti-vaccine folks often misunderstand how herd immunity works, the one thing that can protect their unvaccinated kids as they try to hide in the herd…
Chicken pox parties kind of made sense in the pre-vaccine era. Since it was inevitable that your child would get chicken pox, you wanted them to get it at a young age, so they weren’t at increased risk for complications as an adult.
Do your research. Get vaccinated and protected.
More on Chicken Pox Myths
- Chickenpox Claimed the Life of My Son Christopher
- Once a Childhood Rite of Passage, Chickenpox is Vaccine Preventable
- Stroke: An underappreciated complication of chickenpox that we should never see
- Five Varicella Deaths That Could Have Been Prevented
- Chickenpox can kill – it’s a myth to believe otherwise
- Chicken pox and shingles
- The Chicken Pox Story
- What’s the Big Deal About the Chickenpox?
- Anti-vaccinationists: “The dirty tactics are unbelievable”
- Chickenpox and shingles – same virus, different vaccines
- Chicken pox vaccination policy in the UK – did it cost Elana’s life?
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Study – The burden of hospitalisation for varicella and herpes zoster in England from 2004 to 2013.
- Meryl Dorey mocking death: claims chicken pox was never considered deadly