Government scientists are considering a national campaign to vaccinate all babies & # 39; s against chickenpox – almost a decade after they last looked at the possibility.
Although many people consider teething to be a transitional rite – and for most it is relatively harmless – in some, it can lead to serious complications, including sepsis, pneumonia and brain damage.
Every year about 25 people die from chickenpox in England and Wales, one fifth of them children. The 25 deaths are & # 39; more than from measles, mumps, pertussis and Hib meningitis combined & # 39 ;, according to a 2001 analysis in the BMJ.
Sarah Westcott, 44, right, left her youngest son Gabriel, now three, middle, immunized after her 14-year-old daughter Bridy left, as a young girl who had been struggling with chickenpox
Mrs. Westcott, left, said her daughter Bridy, right, & # 39; had black blisters all over her body and almost ended up in the hospital. It is only thanks to my father, who is a general practitioner, that we were able to manage it at home & # 39;
Dr. Andy Raffles, of the Portland Hospital in London, said that the damage that chickenpox can do to a child should not be underestimated. & # 39; I would like to warmly welcome the introduction of routine chickenpox vaccination for children, & # 39; he said
Specifically employed doctors now weigh the pros and cons of setting up a vaccination campaign, where more than 700,000 babies are vaccinated in the UK every year.
It is a recommendation that ministers can be appointed within one year, although the Joint Committee for vaccination and immunization (JCVI) has not yet taken a decision.
Last night pediatrician Dr.. Andy Raffles of the Portland Hospital in London that the damage that chickenpox can inflict on a child should not be underestimated. & # 39; I would like to warmly welcome the introduction of routine chickenpox vaccination for children, & # 39; he said.
In his 30-year experience, he said he & # 39; had seen two otherwise healthy children die from sepsis associated with chickenpox & # 39 ;.
He added: & # 39; The attitude towards today's chickenpox is very similar to attitudes toward measles in the 1970s and 1980s. But we should no longer call it a rite of passage, if it has potential to harm, and we have the means to prevent it. & # 39; Among the convicted, mother of the three, Sarah Westcott, 44, who had her youngest son Gabriel, now three, was immunized after her 14-year-old daughter Bridy suffered poor chickenpox as a young girl.
& # 39; Bridy has gone through a week of hell & # 39 ;, said Mrs. Westcott from Bexley in South East London. & # 39; She had black blisters all over her body and almost ended up in the hospital. It is only thanks to my father, who is a general practitioner, that we were able to manage it at home. & # 39;
Paying £ 120 for Gabriel to have a two-jab course was & # 39; a non-brainer & # 39 ;, she said.
However, the decision is not clear. Although a national campaign is likely to eradicate chickenpox, widespread vaccination could have harmful effects on the health of the elderly. That's because the chickenpox virus & # 39; varicella & # 39; also causes shingles in adults. It happens when our immunity diminishes and the sleeping virus breaks out, resulting in a nasty rash that the victim can leave behind with paralyzing long-term pain.
It is thought that it is periodically exposed to active chickenpox, because people like parents and grandparents help strengthen the immunity of adults, so keep shingles away.
When the JCVI looked at the issue in 2010, it concluded that vaccination of children could therefore lead to higher shingles in older people. That, in turn, made vaccination poor value for money because treating shingles is expensive.
But new evidence is emerging, suggesting that vaccinating children would not increase the speed of shingles.
Countries that have started such programs, including the US and Australia, have not seen the prices of shingles rise more than those that have not, such as the UK.
Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and chairman of the JCVI, said the committee looks at the findings of such countries. He said: & # 39; The vaccine works extremely well in preventing chickenpox and if it has a good value for money for the NHS, then it is something that we would recommend. But if it is not profitable, it will not meet the criteria set by the NHS. & # 39;
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