Tag: chicken pox myths

About That Chickenpox Outbreak in New York

Anti-vax folks really seem to be excited about a new case of chickenpox at a school in New York.

There is a case of chickenpox at a school in New York.
Made my day?

A case that wasn’t report until after they implemented new rules that eliminated religious vaccine exemptions.

About That Chickenpox Outbreak in New York

So does this chickenpox pox case or outbreak in New York somehow mean that their plan isn’t working?

Of course not!

For one thing, it is only one case.

Remember that chickenpox outbreak in Kentucky last Spring? At least 32 kids ended up getting chickenpox!

That shouldn’t happen at this school in New York, as there hopefully aren’t even 32 unvaccinated kids left to get sick. There might be though…

Wait, how could there be 32 unvaccinated kids if they have eliminated non-medical exemptions?

Well, since the law just went into effect at the start of this school year, kids likely haven’t had time to get fully vaccinated.

Wait, what?

Children who are not fully immunized can continue to attend school if they are in the process of completing the ACIP catch-up schedule or if they are otherwise exempt from immunization requirements. A school shall not refuse to admit a child based on immunization requirements, if that child is “in process.”

New York School Immunization Q&A

Also, for some reason, “students entering grades 5, 11 and12 for the 2018-19 school year are only required to have received one dose of varicella vaccine.”

Remember, to be considered fully vaccinated against chickenpox, kids should have two doses of the chickenpox vaccine.

So it should be easy to see that there may be students in New York schools who are only partially vaccinated.

What else?

The deadline for kids to get vaccinated was September 17 and the vaccine takes at least two weeks to work.

The case was reported on October 18.

Add in the 10 to 21 day incubation period and it is very possible that this was a student who was initially unvaccinated and developed chickenpox before his vaccine had time to work!

Whaddya know!!

Are there any other possibilities?

Could it simply be a student with breakthrough chickenpox? A child who was vaccinated, but developed chickenpox anyway?


While the chickenpox is said to be 100% effective at preventing severe cases of chickenpox, you can still sometimes get milder, breakthrough infections, even after two doses.

Or the case could be in a teacher or other school worker.

What about shedding?

While the chickenpox vaccine is said to rarely cause a rash, it typically occurs at the site of injection, so it is unlikely that it would be confused with a full blown case of chickenpox. And this rash rarely gets others sick.

The bottom line though is that with fewer fully unvaccinated students in school now, this is unlikely to develop into a big outbreak.

More on Chickenpox Outbreaks

More Misinformation on Vaccine Shedding

Do you know why folks still think that vaccine shedding is a problem?

Misinformation on vaccine shedding keeps spreading on Facebook.

Yup. Folks keep posting and sharing misinformation about vaccine shedding!

More Misinformation on Vaccine Shedding

Are these real signs that are warning people about shedding?

Maybe, but that doesn’t mean that they are accurate.

Smallpox Warning Sign
You actually aren’t supposed to swim after getting the smallpox vaccine, but just until the vaccination site has healed, in 3 to 4 weeks.
Outdated Information
Outdated Information
John's Hopkins Patient Visitor Guide
The updated patient visitor guide from John’s Hopkins.
Outdated Information
Outdated Information
The latest Patient Visitor Guidelines from St Jude
The latest Patient Visitor Guidelines from St Jude
Do Not Visit
Not visiting within 30 days of a live vaccine is not part of any guideline.
Chickenpox Vaccine Shedding Sign
Unless you have a rash, you can not give your child chickenpox after getting vaccinated.

Are some places overly cautious or just not up-to-date on the current guidelines on vaccine safety?

If you read the latest guidelines it is clear. Vaccine shedding is rarely a problem when visiting most people in the hospital.

More on Misinformation on Vaccine Shedding

Should I Stop Calling Chickenpox and Measles Diseases?

Sherri Tenpenny wants us to stop calling chickenpox and measles diseases.

She thinks that we should call them infections instead…

Should I Stop Calling Chickenpox and Measles Diseases?

If you are like most people, you are probably thinking to yourself and maybe even shouting at your computer screen right now, “who cares what you call them, just get vaccinated and stop the outbreaks!”

When you vaccinate to avoid an infection, what you are potentially doing is preventing a death!
When you vaccinate to avoid an infection, what you are potentially doing is preventing a death!

Believe it or not, there is actually some precedent for changing the way we talk about diseases. While you may still refer to them as STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases out of habit, the prefererable term is actually STI, or sexually tranmistted infection.

Of course, this has nothing to do with Tenpenny’s reasoning.

“Why the change? The concept of ‘disease,’ as in STD, suggests a clear medical problem, usually some obvious signs or symptoms. But several of the most common STDs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of persons infected. Or they have mild signs and symptoms that can be easily overlooked. So the sexually transmitted virus or bacteria can be described as creating ‘infection,’ which may or may not result in ‘disease.’ This is true of chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), to name a few.

For this reason, for some professionals and organizations the term ‘disease’ is being replaced by ‘infection.'”


In fact, their definitions sound nothing like Tenpennys…

Unfortunately, many STIs, even if they aren’t causing symptoms and disease, can still be contagious.

Measles and chickenpox don’t do that. Although you can be contagious just before you start to have symptoms, you will very quickly develop symptoms.

It is true that some viruses and bacteria can lead to subclinical infections, in which you develop immunity without ever developing symptoms, but that doesn’t usually happen with measles and chicken pox.

Polio is one of the best examples of when it does happen. Remember, nearly 75% of kids who got polio never had any symptoms. Tragically, those symptoms could be severe in the small percentage who did.

So as usual, Sherri Tenpenny is wrong.

Chickenpox and measles are infections that cause disease. And while most people recover after 7 to 10 days of symptoms, including a high fever and rash, some don’t.

Both also put you at risk for long-term complications, namely shingles and SSPE.

Remember, if you listen to folks like her and skip or delay your child’s vaccines and they get chickenpox or measles, the only thing you are doing is causing more people to get sick. A catchy slogan won’t prevent that or keep your kids healthy.

More on Diseases vs Infections

The Ethan Lindenberger Story Isn’t Over

As most folks know, Ethan Lindenberger is the Ohio teen who got himself vaccinated over the objections of his mother, who had always believed that vaccines are dangerous.

What will Thanksgiving dinner be like at the Lindenberger home?

During his testimony before Congress, Sen Isakson joked that “I would love to be at Thanksgiving dinner at your house. It would be a heck of a discussion.”

Hopefully the family is talking again by Thanksgiving…

The Ethan Lindenberger Story Isn’t Over

Surprisingly, instead of simply supporting her son’s decision, even if she didn’t agree with it, Ethan’s mom is actually speaking out against him.

“Ethan has had no education at all in this,” said Wheeler. “None, again, he was asking three months ago where to go to get vaccinated and now he’s sitting on a committee voicing his opinion for research he’s done on the internet?”

She even seems to have bought into some of the conspiracy theories folks have created about them.

“They’ve made him the poster child for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Jill Wheeler

And unfortunately, as if they hadn’t done enough damage to this family, anti-vaccine folks are doubling down and continue to exploit them.

Ethan’s mom and brother even went out to California and appeared with Del Bigtree on his “show.”

So what led Ethan’s mom on the road to questioning vaccines?

“I remember going in and getting the chicken pox vaccine and after they had administered it, they said, well, you’re going to have to come back in about 10 to 15 years to have it redone. He’s going to have it again. I said well wait a minute, I thought that these vaccinations were forever. They were like well, no, you’re going to have to get it again in 10 years and probably 10 years after that.

I said then why don’t I just let him get the chicken pox? I had it. All my sisters had it. Everyone I know has had the chicken pox. Why don’t I just let him have the chicken pox? Oh no, you don’t want to do that. Just come every 10 years…

That’s when I went home and said somethings not adding up, somethings not adding up, I was always under the assumption that vaccines were a forever thing… I started researching…”

Jill Wheeler

What jumps out the most about this story? There has never been a recommendation to repeat the chicken pox vaccine every ten years. In fact, when it first came out, it was thought that it would be a one time dose. A second dose was later added because we were seeing some mild breakthrough infections.

The only vaccine that we get every 10 years is the one that protects us against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Would you like your child to get tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis so that they have natural immunity and don’t need the shot?

Good luck.

In addition to being very deadly, neither tetanus nor diphtheria infections provide you with natural immunity. And even natural pertussis infections don’t provide lifelong immunity.

We also learned that Ethan’s mom didn’t start her research on Facebook, which isn’t surprising, as Facebook didn’t exist when she first got started. But the anti-vaccine misinformation was there, as the anti-vaccine movement isn’t new. And at some point, she shifted to Facebook, YouTube and other internet sources, and that’s what she used to “debate” her son.

Del Bigtree: Sounds like a kid that goes off and you know starts smoking pot and shooting heroin.

Jill Wheeler: That’s what I’m saying, instead of that, he went and got vaccinated.

Del Bigtree: That’s how you rebel.

Jill Wheeler: That’s how you rebel.

Del Bigtree: Keep your pharmaceutical products I could get hooked on oxycontin, but I’m gonna go with vaccines.

For folks that talk about vaccine choice a lot, they don’t seem to like the choice that Ethan Lindenberger made…

“Well I think that us, taking a voice against what my brother is doing is going to be able to make an effort towards the Liberty movement to make sure that this lies an individual decision. “

Isaac Linderberger

They also ignore the fact that vaccine mandates don’t force anyone to get vaccinated and that their choice to skip or delay vaccines puts others at risk.

“If you believe in Liberty, that’s fine, don’t get immunized. But I don’t think that you need to necessarily expose others to disease.”

Sen Bill Cassidy

They also miss that by making a decision based on misinformation, they aren’t truly making an informed decision.

More on The Ethan Lindenberger Story