Chickenpox Vaccine Discussion – Viruses and Vaccines

Brief History of the Chickenpox Vaccine

Varicella, otherwise called chickenpox, is an extremely contagious disease that is highly uncomfortable and serious. The chickenpox vaccine is the best way to protect human beings against chickenpox. Varicella vaccine produced from weakened varicella virus that produces an immune response in the human body (STRAUS, OSTROVE, INCHAUSPĆ, FELSER, FREIFELD, CROEN& SAWYER, 1988). The varicella-containing vaccine protects the body against chickenpox. In 1995, United States licensed the chickenpox vaccine for use. Since then, the varicella vaccine is widely used. The vaccinehas helped the number of people who get chickenpox each year as well as hospitalizations and deaths from chickenpox to go down dramatically by over 90% in the United States(STRAUS, OSTROVE, INCHAUSPĆ, FELSER, FREIFELD, CROEN & SAWYER, 1988). Up to 91% of people who receive the vaccine do not contract chickenpox. People who get chickenpox after having the vaccine have a milder form of the disease.

How often a person mustreceive Varicella vaccine for Protection against Chickenpox 

Routine immunization of children of12 months to 12 years of age is mandatory. Routine immunization should also occur for children who have missed varicella immunization on the routine schedule.Children with a history of varicella disease occurring before 12 months of age should receive routine immunization with two doses of varicella-containing vaccine after 12 months of age, because varicella disease at less than 12 months of age has been associated with an increased risk of a second episode of varicella. Children who receive one dose of varicella-containing vaccine and subsequently develop laboratory confirmed breakthrough infection do not require a second dose of a varicella-containing vaccine for varicella protection (Seward, Watson, Peterson, Mascola, Pelosi, Zhang & Wharton, 2002).

Adolescents without contraindications who may be susceptible to varicella should serologically test for varicella antibodies because the majority of such adolescents will be immune. If the adolescent is serologically susceptible to varicella, the person should receive two doses of a univalent varicella vaccine a minimum of 6 weeks apart.

In adults aged 50 years and older, routine serologic testing is not mandatory. Nearly all adults 50 years of age and older, will have had prior varicella exposure even if the person does not remember having had chickenpox. In the rare circumstance that an adult aged 50 years and over proves serologically susceptible to varicella based on previous testing for another reason, and is without contraindications, the individual should receive vaccination with two doses of univalent varicella vaccine(Seward, Watson, Peterson, Mascola, Pelosi, Zhang & Wharton, 2002).

Role of Vaccines in Preventing the Spread of Disease

The diseases that vaccines prevent can be dangerous, or even deadly. Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to disease.When bacteria or viruses, invade the human body, they attack and multiply in a process called infection. The infection is causes illness. The body immune system then tries to fight the infection. Once it successfully fights off the infection, the body generates a supply of cells that help recognize and fight that disease in the future(Levine & Sztein, 2004).

Vaccines help develop immunity by try to be like an infection. However, this “imitation” infection does not cause illness but it causes the immune system to develop the same response as it does to a real infection so the body can recognize and fight the vaccine-preventable disease in the future. At times, the imitation infection can cause minor symptoms, such as fever, after getting a vaccine. Such minor symptoms are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity

Effects of Not Vaccinating For Diseases

Although vaccines have dramatically reduced the number of people who get infectious diseases and the complications these diseases produce, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable diseases and death still exist. Without vaccines, epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases would return.


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