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Please give me your opinions, pro and con, on the chickenpox vax.

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
I'm feeling very inclined to have my sons vaccinated against chickenpox at their 18 month WBV. I had felt before that I could just delay indefinitely, but I've had too many close calls recently for my comfort level.

First, I've just had a case of possible shingles. I've never really thought of myself and other household members as possible reserviors, but that's exactly what we are if we've had it ourselves, and shingles can strike out of the blue.

Second, just as I was getting over the possible case of shingles, I had them at a playground where a little girl in a swimsuit who was covered head to toe with red spots was practically on top of my boys before I noticed and got them out of there. Given that there are parents irresponsible enough to send infected kids out among unvaccinated babies (and many of them at that playground are too young to have gotted the standard vax yet) it just seems prudent to vax them if I don't want them to get the natural illness.

My concerns about vaxing them are mostly will the immunity wear off and leave them vulnerable to full strengh chickenpox as adults? That would be a much worse situation then letting them get it as children.

My concern about not vaxing is that I don't want to set them up for getting shingles later in life. If it was just the one time illness without the risk for later problems I would just let them get it. I don't want them to have to worry about shingles though.

I also have concerns about possible neg side effects of the vax. Does anyone have any experiences with those?

I'm not philosophically opposed to vaxes, and they've had most of theirs. I'm just delaying on ones that I think are less important or have possible risks or that I have some questions about.

I apologize for being longwinded. I really would like to hear from all sides on this.
post #2 of 58
I wasn't comfortable getting DS the chicken pox vaccine as a toddler, but had it given to him at his 4 year well visit. Now I wish I hadn't, because I'd rather him get the illness. You can always get the vaccine at an older age if your boys haven't had the illness by then. There is no reason to decide between the vaccine and possible shingles later in life at 18 months.
post #3 of 58
There is a shingles vaccine out there as well. We wait to get chicken pox until school entry and then we do it. I actually never knew until recently that getting chicken pox while pregnant can affect your fetus. My two oldest have gotten theirs because they are entering school and didn't get natural infection but knowing that pox can affect pregnancies like that did give me some pause on my third. But I am still on the side of waiting until school entry for them.

Most models predicted a 30-50 year increase in shingles after the introduction of the varicella vaccine. Some areas have seen this happen, other areas have not. Some had an increase in shingles not associated with the vaccine because their increase started way before vaccine usage.
post #4 of 58
Did the child's mother at the playground tell you that she had chicken pox? I highly doubt she was out there with contagious CP. There are many things that cause red spots all over your body. Bug bites, heat rash, a reaction to a medication, or she was possibly even recovering from CP but not contagious any more. 24 hours after the sores have all scabbed over, children are completely not contagious, even though it can take a couple of weeks for the spots to completely disappear.

It is my understanding that the CP vaccine will leave your child more susceptable to shingles at a much younger age than actually having the illness. If your child gets CP and then is exposed as an adult to another person who has CP (usually their own child), they develop stronger immunity (a booster of sorts) and are unlikely to develop shingles when they are older.
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post
It is my understanding that the CP vaccine will leave your child more susceptable to shingles at a much younger age than actually having the illness. If your child gets CP and then is exposed as an adult to another person who has CP (usually their own child), they develop stronger immunity (a booster of sorts) and are unlikely to develop shingles when they are older.
I've heard the opposite. I think the CP vaccine has been shown to reduce the incidence of shingles in those that have received the vaccine. However, the incidence of shingles has gone up for those who were not vaccinated and who had the disease as a child because they are not being re-exposed to the virus because it's not very common now.

http://www.drgreene.com/qa/chickenpox-vaccine
post #6 of 58
It's one of the vaccines we never considered for DS. DH knows very well that CP is a pain in the neck, but harmless to most children. For him it is also unacceptable for moral reasons (how it was made, aka human diploid cells). He would never touch such a thing. I never had chickenpox as a kid and since I had no titers, it was mandatory to get it for the green card. I received it 4 times (2 times is supposedly enough) and still do not have antibodies. It is highly inefficient.
My sister is a PhD MD in pharma reserach, and while we don't agree on vaccinating (she does everything on schedule including new vaccines such as the Prevnar 13 and meningo C) she is opposed to the chickenpox vaccine as it is so ineffective, even those that get titers have them wear off in no time and it is a very mild disease in children.
post #7 of 58
Thread Starter 
I don't know definitively that the kid at the playground had chickenpox, and I don't know definitively that I had shingles, but they were both definite possibilities, and two possible exposures like that in a two week period was simply too much for my comfort level.

I don't worry about chickenpox as a childhood illness. They are healthy with strong immune systems, so I don't expect they would get very sick. I do worry about the long term aftermath in terms of vulnerability to shingles.

One of the reasons I've been so alarmed with this whole thing (especially my own possible shingles) is that I've been tutoring a young woman from Africa who is pregnant with twins and apparently has no immunity to chickenpox. She's already been extremely sick this pregnancy and I was so afraid that I would expose her, which would have been an absolute catastrophe.

I'm really not seeing any good reasons NOT to do it. I will continue to research until their appointment, but I think I'm probably going to do it.
post #8 of 58
My older 2 had the vaccine and 3 yrs later got the cp anyway. My young 2 had the chicken pox. I know THREE children under 5 who have had shingles. All had the chicken pox vaccine.

One vaccine will not do it. They are recommending a booster and I HEAR that a 2nd booster will be added for middle school.

With actual chicken pox you are good for your lifetime
post #9 of 58
Quote:
I don't know definitively that the kid at the playground had chickenpox, and I don't know definitively that I had shingles, but they were both definite possibilities, and two possible exposures like that in a two week period was simply too much for my comfort level.
I find your remarks very alarming.
I wish you would look into chickenpox in general a bit more. You are contagious up to two days prior to even seeing spots and some people do not show any signs of the fever or sniffles and come down with CP- so you could be right next to a child in the grocery store and they will break out the following day.


Quote:
Given that there are parents irresponsible enough to send infected kids out among unvaccinated babies

you really are jumping to an unfound conclusion IMO


I have seen several reports of how the vaccine does not work in children and the shingles vaccine does not prevent shingles- you can find all this simply by reading the insert and seeing the data that supports this.

As for yourself, I find it a bit odd if you are so in fear of CP that you did not have yourself checked for shingles.
Quote:
One of the reasons I've been so alarmed with this whole thing (especially my own possible shingles) is that I've been tutoring a young woman from Africa who is pregnant with twins and apparently has no immunity to chickenpox
- You may have had another contagious rash that you spread to others without knowing it.

The singles rash is not as much an issue as the air-born fact of shingles.


When you look at the package insert you will also see that the vaccine MUST have boosters, and not just in childhood- it does not last.
The current way most of the US is, insurance companies will not pay for CP vaccine in adults (thus people will not re-booster) and most do not pay for shingles vaccine either- I know several older people that will not vaccinate simply because of the $185.00+ dollar cost.

To vaccinate your child is one things, you have no idea if they will continue to pay to have them self re-boosters thru out life.

I would seriously weigh the vaccine against the natural and the life long immunity vs short term.

the package inserts are very easy to find on line

you may also want to look at these

www.askdrsears.com/html/8/t080900.asp (there are many other sites also saying the exact same thing)

U.S. have indicated protection for at least thirteen years, and studies in Japan have shown protection for at least twenty years.

and than you run the risk of not knowing within your child unless you also do titers testing (again insurance companies are not will to pay for this) will your child be at 12 years or 21 years immunity? oh the apt is made and a week prior they get exposed and get it any ways - to me there are far too many problem and not near enough pluses for the justification in the end

http://www.pediatrics.aappublication...full/103/5/e61
post #10 of 58
The Japanese and American studies showing immunity for prolonged periods both concluded that the immunity lasted AT LEAST that long. Those are good numbers. early studies of this nature on the measles vaccine showed the same results, though a bit better for measles.

There is also the fact that breakthrough varicella cases are less severe.

I agree that it is true that you can be exposed anywhere- you even have parents purposely exposing and then not staying home for the incubation period. It might not happen often, but even here on mothering people have admitted to exposing and then not staying home for the entire incubation period.


If you want protection from the disease and you fear that exposure and have done your work on the issue, I would get the vaccine.

I was one of those unlucky ones with a bad case that lead to hospitalization, so I am not one to question too much why someone would get this one on time. I do caution against getting it at 15 months or younger because it seems to have less effectiveness then and seems, for some reason, to not last as long. many breakthrough cases are in those who received their first dose before 16 months.

We delay primarily because of that immunity issue. It seems that older kids build better immunity to this vaccine. Plus we do MMR and don't want to give pox and MMR at the same visit. so pox is the one put off.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
and then not staying home for the incubation period.
Do you understand the vaccine for CP is live and thus you can also cause others to become infected? Would you also keep the child home during the incubation period? many come down within 14 days, many well over 20+ days


the poster is concerned about an student she is working with- she could expose that person via her child getting the vaccine or her getting the shingles vaccine as well, not to mention other live vaccines



I have yet to meet one mother that vaccinates with a live virus and keeps their children away from others.

There is a thread current on the vaccination section about the dangers vaccines pose to others- CP is one of them.

Chemo and Unvaxed kids a lot of good info has been posted and there is also a lot out there on the dangers freshly vaccinated CP children pose to others
post #12 of 58
of course I know it is live.

I do not think vaccine shedding is comparable to exposing a child to the disease and then taking them out into public places. The chances of spreading the disease in the two situations are not even comparably close. Is the pregnant woman in their home or no? there would only be a remote chance if she has contact with the children and they get a rash from the vaccine.

IMO, the chance of vaccine shedding has been overstated by many. Not saying it can't happen, but it has been widely overstated (even more so when it comes to MMR and all the myths surrounding that)
post #13 of 58
oh- and if you are worried about the very very small possibility of transmission from the vaccine to the pregnant woman you are tutoring, you can let her know your children will be vaccinated for the disease and also offer to keep them away from her if possible. In fact, I would do that, tell her. The only documented cases of transmission from the vaccine to others has been in cases where the vaccine caused a rash. So if you see anything like that, I would ask her not to come even if she agrees to coming after the vaccine, kwim?

ETA: I also do not think you comment that the shingles vaccine does not work is true. Here is a recent study on the shingles vaccine and a blog post picking it apart:

http://www.annals.org/content/152/9/545.long#T1

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=5814

The vaccine was shown to prevent 51% of shingles and 67% of postherpetic neuralgia. 50% and 67% might not seem so great, but considering that 15% of people will get this disease and some age groups see 50% getting the disease, that is a significant chunk of cases that could be prevented.





OP:
are you considering the shingles vaccine for yourself?
post #14 of 58
Quote:
ETA: I also do not think you comment that the shingles vaccine does not work is true.
www.zostavax.com (this is the vaccine)

ZOSTAVAX may not protect everyone who gets the vaccine.

ZOSTAVAX contains a weakened chickenpox virus. Tell your health care provider if you will be in close contact with newborn infants, someone who may be pregnant and has not had chickenpox or been vaccinated against chickenpox, or someone who has problems with their immune system.


-because it does cause problems, it can be transmitted to others

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVac...ines/UCM070418

Zostavax reduced the frequency of PHN

-it doesn't prevent it-no where does the manufacture or the govt. say it prevents it, it is not designed to prevent

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/shi...accine/AN01738

The shingles vaccine isn't fail-safe; some people develop shingles despite vaccination.

-50% is not good enough for me - to each their own
post #15 of 58
Quote:
The only documented cases of transmission from the vaccine to others has been in cases where the vaccine caused a rash.
Quote:
My older 2 had the vaccine and 3 yrs later got the cp anyway.

you will not know you are getting the rash until you break out and you are contagious prior to the rash and you infect those you are near prior to knowing you have CP
post #16 of 58
Your claim was that the shingles vaccine does not protect against shingles, correct? I think I provided an excellent study that shows us that the shingles vaccine is effective 50-67%. whether that is "not good enough for you" is one thing, but it definitely kills your statement that doesn't work.

The shingles vaccine is more problematic in shedding because it is typically given to immune suppressed and also has something like 5x the viral load of the varicella vaccine.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
you will not know you are getting the rash until you break out and you are contagious prior to the rash and you infect those you are near prior to knowing you have CP
can you show me evidence of transmission prior to the vaccine-caused rash?
post #18 of 58
Quote:
can you show me evidence of transmission prior to the vaccine-caused rash?
yes, there are several

http://www.chickenpox.emedtv.com/chi...r-vaccine.html

Merck has made changes to their package insert- you may also want to read that -

http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_...varivax_pi.pdf

effective June 2010



Quote:
Your claim was that the shingles vaccine does not protect against shingles, correct?
yes, that is correct, by the manufacture and the US govt- it does not prevent you from contracting shingles

if you read what the US govt has written and what the manufacture has also written you will see they do not state that it prevents , the vaccine is not designed to prevent you from breaking out with shingles, and it only reduces the incidence, severity and duration of shingles, it does not prevent. (links were provided in prior post and here is another stating the same thing) - www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/25622.php
post #19 of 58
Quote:
The shingles vaccine is more problematic in shedding because it is typically given to immune suppressed
NO- you are NOT to get it if your immune system is weakened - per the CDC (this is also stated by the manufacture on the product insert)



www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/should-not-vacc.htm

has a weakened immune system because of
HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids,
cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy,
a history of cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
post #20 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post
As for yourself, I find it a bit odd if you are so in fear of CP that you did not have yourself checked for shingles. - You may have had another contagious rash that you spread to others without knowing it.

The singles rash is not as much an issue as the air-born fact of shingles.

I DID have myself checked for shingles. I said that I did not have a definitive diagnoses. My symptoms were not clear cut enough for the doctor to be certain that it was shingles, but it was a distinct possibility.

I was put on a week long course of an anti-viral, and I stayed away from the pregnant student during the time I had symptoms. (She does not come to my house, I go to hers).

I appreciate the links. I'm going to continue to research this up until the appointment.
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