Once a childhood rite of passage, chicken pox has been virtually wiped out since the vaccine was introduced in 1995. Chicken Pox Vaccine Story
A new study conducted by Kaiser researchers and published in Pediatrics, a medical journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Effectiveness Story assesses the effectiveness of the chicken pox vaccine and confirms that it offers long term protection against disease.
In fact, the 14-year study – involving 7,585 children who received their first chickenpox vaccine at age 2 – showed that the vaccine was about 90% effective and its effectiveness did not diminish over time. Researchers also reported that the incidence of shingles was approximately 40% lower in vaccinated children.
“This is a really good vaccine,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Roger Baxter, co-director of the Vaccine Study Center at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif. One dose is enough to protect against most cases and severe infection, he said, while “the second dose just wipes it out.” Long Term Protection
According to the study, prior to the vaccine’s introduction, more than 90 percent of children contracted chicken pox by the time they were 20 years old. Vaccine Works When the vaccine was first introduced, experts were not certain if one dose would be sufficient, or if protection would wear off over time. Ongoing protection is key, because infection in older teens and adults can be much more serious than it is in childhood.
Before the vaccine, about four million people contracted the disease each year, with up to 150 dying annually because of chickenpox.