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Vaccine Refusal Raises Chickenpox Risk

Kids Are 9 Times More Likely to Get Chickenpox if They Don't Get Vaccinated

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 the disease.

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 life. 

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 systems.

"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."

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