Varicella Vaccine

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FM
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Varicella Vaccine

FM
Hi Catherina and SM

Can you PLEASE cover this vaccine and its safety and level of importance in children.  I am thinking I may get my son his Varicella sooner than planned.  Possibly at his well visit this spring BUT I'm SCARED of severe reactions to this vaccine.  Can you walk me thru the possible side effects and the reality or not of it happening and when it would if it was going to.  My process on getting through vaccines is a lengthy mud walk but I get there lol

SM I also know you do not think mass vaccination is necessary for CP how "risky" do you believe it is to allow my child to go to age 8 or 9 before vaccinating.   Can you talk about natural immunity risks versus vaccine risks and how they may defer or resemble eachother?

thank you so much,

FM
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Re: Varicella Vaccine

Science Mom
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Hi FM, just a quick note to let you know that I finally saw this and will answer shortly.  Life has been crazy (in a good way) lately and want to pull some numbers together for you.

SM
FM
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Re: Varicella Vaccine

FM
thank you SM, I'm eagerly awaiting your reply as I believe you are not a fan of mass vaccination.  I believe I would rather have my child have natural immunity but I've been a bit fear mongered over the disease and want to be comfortable with my decision.  thank you.........and of course, above all enjoy real life first! ha :)

Also, the other day I heard grumblings of a 3 shot being suggested for teens for Varicella...is this so????
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Re: Varicella Vaccine

Science Mom
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In reply to this post by FM
FM, here is a basic list for reactions:  http://pediatrics.about.com/library/vis/bl_chickenpox.htm  severe reactions occur so rarely, it can't be determined if it was related to the vaccine.  Even assuming they did, you are looking at 1/millions of doses.  So, I wouldn't worry about severe reactions, can happen, but exceedingly rare.  You need to decide if you want to avoid or attenuate chicken pox and even though, it is usually not a serious disease, the disease complications, even in terms of fever, discomfort and moderate/severe complications far exceed those of the vaccine.

If you aren't going to vaccinate now, then I would strongly recommend it by the age of 10 years old.  That is because risk of complications for disease increase at puberty.  The vaccine reactions are normally fever in some, possibly febrile seizure (almost always not a concern), mild rash.  Since you probably had chicken pox, you can pretty much suss out what that would be like.  I, personally, don't have fond memories even though I was able to miss school.  Shingles is another consideration, the wild-type virus tends to produce shingles later in life that is far more common and worse in severity than shingles from the vaccine virus.

Immune efficacy and duration from the vaccine is very over-estimated, which is one of the reasons why I not supportive of mass vaccination.  The same doesn't hold true for pertussis vaccination, in case you were wondering, because of the severity of pertussis.  Varivax is a great vaccine for at-risk populations and for those who really can't afford to miss work with a sick child for a week or two.  I'm just not sure that current policy can support mass vaccination.  Please don't hesitate to ask any more questions if you still have them, in spite of my rambling.

SM
FM
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Re: Varicella Vaccine

FM
thank you..... I'm a stay at home mom so missing work is sort of impossible for me hahaha.  I believe I would vaccinate for this if my son did not get the disease before age 10, at least thats where I'm at mentally with it.

I understand that vaccine reactions, severe ones are rare, but man if my kid was that one I'm not sure how I'd deal.  And for me its hard to take my healthy child into the doctors office to receive medical intervention with possible side effects especially for a disease that does not normally cause serious problems.  Its too much of an oxymoron for me.  I understand vaccines for serious childhood diseases I really do, my kids have all their other vaccines but I'm stuck on this one.  My dd did get 1 but that'll be it for this disease.

Does that make a difference if I tell you I'll just be giving 1 of the series, not the other two?  I had a doctor at the peds office say if I wasn't going to boost it wasn't worth getting?  I said "cool" and left hahahaha I wasn't going to argue, although I look back on that day and wish she would've said well at least get one and we would've done it that day........but my mind has changed now.  I don't like its now at 3 shots and started as 1 was suppose to fix it.

True serious complications and death due to CP is rare as a reaction to the vaccine though, isn't it?  I still have friends who "share the pox" (NOT ON MY WATCH) and want their kids to get the disease.  I would never go that far, but I do fear the vaccine more than the natural disease.   Other than a few grumpy days I've not seen anything in my friends kids to cause alarm and natural immunity seems much more effective.

Sigh.....I had CP no big deal, I was 8....my sister had it BAAAADDDD but never saw a doctor, just lots of poxs all over.  Everyone is so different with natural disease and with vaccines we never know.   Thats truely the frustrating part for me with this "optional" shot.
FM
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Re: Varicella Vaccine

FM
Also, I wanted to ask:

If a child gets the shot and "immunity" starts to wane, does the ability to experience a lesser degree of the disease because of the shot also wane?

Meaning, doctors say you'll get a lesser degree of the disease if you have the shot, (I've also had ped tell me its 100% of the time, is that so?)  but as immunity wanes does that protection wane as well?

thanks so much!
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Re: Varicella Vaccine

Science Mom
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FM wrote
Does that make a difference if I tell you I'll just be giving 1 of the series, not the other two?
Yes, it does make a difference because of waning immunity.  If you delay this until ~10 years old and no chicken pox disease, first dose, then it is a good idea to boost as a young adult, so before college.


FM wrote
Also, I wanted to ask:

If a child gets the shot and "immunity" starts to wane, does the ability to experience a lesser degree of the disease because of the shot also wane?

Meaning, doctors say you'll get a lesser degree of the disease if you have the shot, (I've also had ped tell me its 100% of the time, is that so?)  but as immunity wanes does that protection wane as well?

thanks so much!
Yes, protection will wane but it is highly variable.  So theoretically, exposure may cause heightened symptoms.  I wish more work would be done with cellular immunity and varicella vaccine as antibody doesn't seem to be a very good surrogate.

SM