Better results have been reported by health experts in the fight against Chickenpox. The positive results seem to occur after the debut of the two-dose vaccination policy. A new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) records a decline of 85% in cases of chickenpox (from 2005-2006 to 2013-2014). The most significant decline was seen among adolescents and children aged between 5 and 14 years.
Approximately four million Americans used to suffer from the illness each year before the vaccination program. It was the year 1996 when the vaccination against the varicella-zoster virus was first introduced. Around 11,000 to 13,500 people would be hospitalized due to the said virus before the start of the vaccination program.
Though the chickenpox vaccine was a step in the right direction even then the amount of cases was quite high. A lot of people still suffered from the disease after being vaccinated. That is when the two-dose varicella-zoster vaccination program was advised by health experts. According to the new CDC report the new ‘two-dose’ program has shown some very encouraging results.
Following the two-dose vaccination program means that the first dose against the virus is given to children during their 12-15 months of age. After that the second dose is given when they are 4-6 years of age. The new report also says that during the recent years the number of chickenpox outbreaks has been reduced.
While chickenpox is considered to be a normal illness by many, it can become serious in babies, adults and even people who have a weak immune system. The symptoms of the disease include: tiredness, fever, and rashes that are blistery and itchy.
The corresponding author of the study, Adriana Lopez, said that “Further reduction in the number of varicella cases will provide states with increased opportunities for enhancing varicella surveillance and improving completeness of reporting to monitor impact of the vaccination program.”
A total of 90% reduction was observed in chickenpox cases in 10 years after the vaccine was introduced back in 1996. Compared to the 1990’s the overall frequency of chickenpox has been reduced from the previous 4 million annual cases reported in the U.S.
The current vaccination program has been credited by the CDC for preventing nearly 3.5 million cases in the present day. This also includes nine thousand hospitalizations and near to a hundred deaths. The findings shared in the new report could help to bring this number down even further.
However, the CDC was quick to caution regarding everyone getting vaccinated for chickenpox. According to the CDC, some people should wait to get vaccinated. Individuals who already have a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of the said vaccine or the antibiotic neomycin or gelatin should not get vaccinated.
Individuals who are already seriously, or even moderately, ill during the time of their vaccination should also wait. Pregnant women shouldn’t get vaccinated until they give birth. After getting vaccinated for chickenpox, women should wait at least a month before getting pregnant.
Getting a two-dose vaccine also doesn’t mean that an individual is 100% safe from getting the illness. However, if a vaccinated person does get chickenpox it’ll be milder compared to not receiving the two-dose vaccination.