Vaccine Refusal Raises Chickenpox Risk
Kids Are 9 Times More Likely to Get Chickenpox if They Don't Get Vaccinated
WebMD News Archive
CDC: Chickenpox Vaccine Is Safe continued...
According to the CDC, more serious reactions such as seizure and pneumonia
are very rare.
But several studies suggest that the VZV vaccine is the most commonly
refused childhood vaccine.
It is not exactly clear how many parents choose not to have their children
"The best estimates we have suggest that about 1% to 2% of parents refuse
vaccinations for their children, and there is evidence to suggest this number
may be growing," Glanz says.
Infectious disease specialist William Schaffner, MD, says while the number
of parents who reject all vaccines for their children remains small, the number
with specific concerns about vaccines and vaccination schedules appears to be
Schaffner is professor and chairman of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt
University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn.
"The pediatricians I talk to are telling me that the time they spend
addressing parents' concerns about vaccinations has grown exponentially over
the past five years," he says.
VZV Vaccine Very Effective
The VZV vaccine is almost 100% effective for preventing severe cases of
chickenpox. Roughly one in 10 children who is vaccinated gets a milder case of
Vaccination is also believed to prevent the painful, nerve-related condition
known as shingles, which is common among older adults and is also caused by the
varicella zoster virus.
According to the National Institutes of Health, people who have been
vaccinated against chickenpox appear to be less likely to get shingles later in
Schaffner says children who aren't vaccinated can have severe complications
including bacterial infections and pneumonia if they get chickenpox.
And unvaccinated children are more likely to expose others who can't be
vaccinated to the disease or are at high risk for severe chickenpox infection,
including young infants, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune
"We vaccinate the strong so that the weak are protected," he says.
"Vaccination has always had two functions: to protect the individual and to
protect the community."