Kids may need two chickenpox shots

 
By HSC Staff Writer • Published: September 11th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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If there’s one thing kids don’t want, it’s more vaccinations.

Unfortunately, that may be exactly what they need to stay safe from chickenpox.

Though it’s a common childhood illness, chickenpox can be dangerous. Infected individuals who haven’t been vaccinated can develop serious complications, including bacterial infections and viral pneumonia.

People who HAVE been vaccinated can still get a mild case of chickenpox, and infect others.

Vaccinations against this viral disease have been routine in the U-S since 1995.

Children typically receive one dose of the vaccine. But a study published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics suggests two doses would be preferable.

In the study, researchers investigated a chickenpox outbreak at an Arkansas elementary school. Forty-nine of the school’s five-hundred-fifty students became infected.

Researchers consulted medical records and queried parents about vaccinations, family health and prior instances of chickenpox.

It turned out the vast majority of students had been vaccinated against the disease, including forty-three of the infected children.

The researchers then calculated that a single dose of vaccine was eighty-two percent effective in preventing chickenpox.

For comparison purposes, they turned to a previous study showing that children vaccinated once had triple the risk of getting chickenpox compared with those vaccinated twice.

Not surprisingly, the scientists concluded children should receive two doses of vaccine.

Youngsters may not appreciate the value of that added protection. But if nothing else, that extra shot could mean an extra trip to the toy store. If they’re brave, of course.