The chickenpox vaccine may increase the risk of shingles. It did not, however, create the problem of shingles. Shingles has always been around. The population for which the shingles vaccine is recommended has always been at higher risk of shingles. It would be recommended for them anyway even if we didn't vaccinate for chickenpox. My grandparents were worried about shingles in the '80s, though slightly confused about it's cause - they avoided me when I had chickpenpox because they thought being exposed to cp when you'd already had it long ago could cause shingles, and having had friends suffer horribly from shingles, they didn't want to go through that.
So we have the chickenpox vaccine with it's potential to increase shingles in the older generation and those of the younger who experience wild chickenpox, but also the expectation that it will decrease shingles in the long run as those who had only the vaccine and not wild chickenpox are believed to be less likely to develop shingles. We also have the shingles vaccine which certainly will decrease shingles risk for those who get it, perhaps to a greater extent even than widespread use of the cp vaccine could raise it. How does it all balance out? I'm not really sure. There is a lot of wait and see going on, which coupled with concerns that immunity might not be lifelong without regular exposure to cp makes chickenpox the one vax I was really iffy about, and I'm still not sure whether it is good for society as a whole or not.
I vaccinate primarily for the protection of my children but also with a secondary reason of keeping them from spreading disease thus protecting other people too. With the chcikenpox vax, I ended up that getting them the vax was both the best option for trying to protect them from both chickenpox and shingles, and so, in a society where risk of shingles may be rising, giving them that protection was more important than trying to protect myself from shingles by letting them get sick with chickenpox to boost my own immunity. This is something that I find rather strange about this conversation, that people who are solidly against even mentioning herd immunity or protecting anyone else beyond the child in question as even being mentioned as a reason for vaccinating that child think others should be letting our kids get sick in order to lower our own risk of shingles.
Why is it wrong to vax a child to maintain herd immunity, but okay to let them get sick so they can act as a natural booster against shingles to the rest of us? And yes, most healthy, well fed children recover just fine, but not 100%, and some have a really awful time of it, or, in rare cases, long term complications. That is another thing, why is a very rare adverse event only of concern when it may have been caused by a vaccine, and then it is a big deal? But a rare complication of a disease is dismissed without a second thought because it is rare so probably won't happen to you, not worth worrying about it at all, anyone who bothers to mention the potential at all is just using nasty scare tactics?
Originally Posted by Taximom5
The chicken pox vaccine actually exposes you to the virus--which means you can still get shingles. In fact, there has been a rise in PEDIATRIC shingles amongst children who were vaccinated for chicken pox. Studies on this have been posted many times on MDC.
So it's incorrect to say that very few adults will have been exposed to chicken pox in 50 years. They will all have been vaccinated for it, and will have been exposed through vaccination.
Could you please do me a favour and point me in the direction of one of these studies? I don't really have time to go through all the old threads looking for them, especially as there have been several long CP threads, and I'm pretty sure I've already read all of them from the past year or so and don't recall any mention of such study results. There are a couple of studies showing that vaxed kids have a decreased risk of shingles, and one of those did show a rise in rates of older (late teens, I think?) unvaxed-for-cp kids, but it was not clear if that was a result of the vaccine being used in the community or not. Perhaps I missed something, but I'm pretty sure if there was a study showing an increased risk of shingles in kids who had been vaxed for cp it would have gotten a lot of attention here and been pretty hard to miss.